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Homemade Harissa


Homemade Harissa

Homemade Harissa

Photo © Molly Watson
Harissa is a hot sauce – more of a paste really – from North Africa that's amazingly easy to make. There are as many harissa recipes as there are cooks from the countries that use it, so feel free to experiment with types of chiles and amount of aromatics to find the mix you like best. Use harissa anywhere you want a bit of heat and flavor.

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: About 3/4 cup Homemade Harissa


  • 2 oz. large dried red chiles (New Mexican chiles work nicely here)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 stems flat-leaf parsley
  • 16 large mint leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt


  1. Stem and seed the chiles. Put them in a medium bowl and cover them with boiling water. Let the chiles soak in hot water for about 30 minutes.
  2. Drain the chiles, reserving a cup of the soaking liquid. Put the soaked chiles in a blender or food processor. Add the garlic, parsley, mint, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Whirl until a smooth paste forms. Add a few tablespoons of the soaking liquid to thin the mixture, if you like.
  3. Taste and add more oil, lemon juice, or salt to taste. Transfer the harissa to a jar with a tight-fitting lid or other sealable container and store for up to two weeks. Cover the surface of the harissa with a solid layer of olive oil and a sealable lid for longer storage. Harissa also freezes nicely.
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