Tunisian harissa paste can be very unassuming. It may look mild-mannered for a chili paste, but inside is a world of exotic flavors, from coriander and caraway to cumin and mint. It’s a chili paste that’s wide open for experimentation, too, and you’ll see that played out in stores and restaurants. Harissa recipes will differ based on the ingredients chosen and the chilies used.
Of course, experimenting with chilies is what gets us the most excited, and we leave the door wide open in this homemade harissa recipe. You can opt for mild and smoky and choose ancho peppers as a chili base or go for hot, hot, hot and pick up dried Thai chilies. In-between are so many options, but we provide you with our four favorites below.
Like this recipe? You’ll love these too:
- Homemade Gochujang: We simplify the traditionally complex recipe for this Korean chili paste. It’s not as complex flavor-wise, but it’s much quicker to make!
- Thai Red Curry Paste: A tasty base for curries, or simply add a dab to your soup or stew for additional exotic flavor.
- Simple Chipotle Paste: Deliciously smoky. We love it as a base for marinades for steak and pork especially.
Love smoky heat? This chili powder duo provides plenty of it. Both medium-heat: Ground chipotle (2,500 to 8,000 Scoville heat units) and chile de arbol (15,000 to 30,000 SHU). They're perfect for dry rubs or finishing spices for BBQ and red meats.
- Rehydrate your dried chilies (see instructions here), then remove stems and seeds.
- Place the chilies garlic, caraway, coriander, cumin, mint, cilantro, and salt in a food processor.
- Pulse blend the mix while slowly adding olive oil to reach your preferred consistency. Add additional ingredients as needed to taste.
- Serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil on top or, for the best flavor chill the harissa overnight. Place the harissa in a sealable jar topped with a light coating (1/2 teaspoon) of olive oil.