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How to make Harissa paste

 In Recipes, Vegetarian, Videos

Making your own Harissa paste is incredibly easy and once you taste it, you won’t be able to stop using it. Perfect as a marinade for meat or a fiery dressing for roasted vegetables.

How to make Harissa paste

My love of all things spicy has won. Again. I just can’t seem to stop it. There is nothing that excites me more than jazzing up a dish with spices whether they are hot or sweet or aromatic, all spices (and all things hot), just get me going. I fell in love with Harissa paste a few years ago when I first had it a Middle-Eastern restaurant, slathered over chicken before the chicken was flame-grilled to juicy-perfection. Since then I’ve been experiencing with this fiery, earthy paste with everything from vegetables and meat to fish and even in salad dressings. It is incredibly versatile and so easy to make yourself. And let’s be honest, the flavour of home-made Harissa can’t even be compared with the stuff you buy in the shops.

How to make Harissa pasteHow to make Harissa pasteHow to make Harissa paste

What I love most about making my own Harissa is that I can customise it to suit my palate. I am not a big fan of caraway seeds so I leave it out of my Harissa but I add loads of garlic, smoked paprika and coriander seeds as they are my favourites. I also add some canned, chopped tomatoes to my harissa to bulk it out and add sweet, tartness. Traditionally, red bell peppers are used in Harissa but I found these sweet pimento peppers in my local supermarket and found that their sweetness really complimented the fragrant depth of the spices and the heat of the fresh chillies.

How to make Harissa paste

A jar of harissa will keep in the fridge for at least a month but I doubt you’ll have it for that long. Once you get into using this stuff, you won’t be able to stop!

How to make Harissa pasteSpices for Harissa paste

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How to make Harissa paste
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Making your own Harissa paste is incredibly easy and once you taste it, you won't be able to stop using it. Perfect as a marinade for meat or a fiery dressing for roasted vegetables.
Recipe type: Condiment, Harissa, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, sauce,
Serves: 1x 250ml jar
  • 2x red bell peppers/sweet pimento peppers, charred and skins removed
  • 5 peeled garlic cloves
  • 1x 400g can chopped tomatoes, drained (include the juice for a more saucy consistency)
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 x fresh red chillies (I used Serenade peppers but jalapenos will also work)
  • 1 x fresh red bird's eye chilli
  • 5-6 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & black pepper to taste
for the spice mix
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried chilli flakes
  1. Toast all the spices (in the spice mix) over medium heat in a pan until fragrant. Grind in a pestle & mortar until fine and set aside.
  2. In a blender/food processor, combine all the remaining ingredients along with the spices then blend well until you have a brick-red, vibrant paste. Season to taste then transfer to jars.

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Showing 9 comments
  • Joan

    I just love your recipes and as you do, I just love spicy foods. However I suffer from irritable bowel and the doc suggested I stop eating foods that contain chillis. Im so upset, how can you make curry without chillis?? Please give us one of your fab curry recipes without chilli especially for those of us who dont tolerate them. Please Please….

    • Alida Ryder

      You could definitely leave out any of the hot chillies in my curry recipes. I’m not sure which spices are allowed with IBS but I would go with adding all the regular mild spices (coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika) and just leave out the chilli.

  • Reply

    Love this harissa Alida! So spicy. Just the way I like things. Can’t wait to try your recipe.

  • Tricia

    The Harissa paste from my local supermarket is really not nice at all so I will definitely
    be making this. Many Thanks for the recipe.

    • Alida Ryder

      Please let me know what you think once you’ve tried it Tricia! 🙂

  • Reply

    Thank you for posting this! I have always been curious on how best to make this. Now I know. I feel so very smart right now lol

  • Pang

    I always love your gorgeous photos and awesome recipe, and this post is no different. I have longed to make this Harissa paste, so you can be sure I will make this very soon. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us.

    <3 <3 <3

    • Alida Ryder

      And how I love your beautiful comments. Thanks Pang! And let me know as soon as you’ve made this what you think of it!

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