Making your own harissa

Making harissa

Back in the day, when you would give me a dish with some chili in it, I would start sweating immediately. Runny nose and everything. You know the drill.

But over the years that has changed a bit and I’m starting to like spicy food more and more. Not that I am any competition for the real chili eaters out there, but I am trying! And when you like spicy food, you need a spicy mixture to prepare that food.

Harissa is easy to find in supermarkets these days and that is not too bad really. But I had decided I wanted to make my own mixture at least once. And I was so surprised at how incredibly easy it was to make!!

Making harissa

Ofcourse it would be a given that you put chili in the dish but I did not expect the base of harissa to be so simple. It’s almost the same as making your own chutney. You think it’s complicated until you try!

Harissa is originally from Tunesia and is used a lot in the countries in Northern Africa. It’s used for making soups, sauces and merguez. I like to use harissa as a bit of marinade over meat. Great with chicken or beef skewers!

But having said that it is also great to add to a mayonaise or to use a spoonful of harissa into a dressing. You really can’t go wrong here. Now if you look at the recipes you can find for harissa that are out there, you will find that they vary wildly.

Spices or no spices

You can find various kinds with all sort of spices and you can find harissa without any spices. You can find it with rose water or some other exotic ingredients. I opted here to use the spices I like best, but if you want something else? Go for it.

As with anything I am not claiming that this recipe for harissa is the ultimate recipe. It’s a very versatile recipe that you can whip together in just under a few minutes

Grocery shopping

The other day I was accused by a lady reading a recipe here of not giving the right preparation time. She insisted I needed to add the time needed for dish washing and the time needed for grocery shopping.

To be honest I had to laugh when I read her serious comment. I mean… that would be hard to calculate right? Assuming you have nothing in stock or everything in stock?

Whatever the case, if you have all the ingredients and don’t count any cleaning needed to be done afterwards, this is really done in a few minutes.

Just throw all the ingredients into the food processor, blend and you’re done.

This harissa is also delicious with this recipe for beef kebabs.

Making your own harissa
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This recipe uses fresh red chili peppers and makes about 250 gr
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 1 portion


  • 10 pcs red chili fresh,
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 70 gr tomato puree
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp anis seed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika


  • Do you love spicy? Then leave the seeds in the chili's. If you're looking for a little milder, remove them before chopping them up. Or go half/half.
  • Cut the chili peppers roughly in pieces and add to the food processor.
  • Add garlic, salt, lemon juice, olive oil, tomato puree, sugar and all the spices.
  • Turn it into a pasta and keep it in a clean jar. It's best to pour a little bit of oil on top.
  • It will keep in the fridge like this for at least two weeks.
Course: Basic


The nutritional values above are calculated per portion. The details are based on standard nutritional tables and do not constitute a professional nutritional advice.

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