From the blog For Love of the Table

1 t. cumin seed

1/2 t. coriander seed

1/2 t. caraway seed

4 hot red dried chiles (I use chile de árbol)—about 2 inches in length, stemmed and seeded or

not...as you prefer...and rough chopped

2 cloves peeled garlic

3/4 t. coarse salt, or to taste

1 medium red bell pepper—roasted, peeled, and chopped coarse

1 t. tomato paste

1 T. olive oil


Toast whole spices and chiles in a dry skillet until fragrant, then cool.


With an electric spice grinder, a cleaned coffee grinder, or a mortar and pestle, grind seeds and chiles fine. Transfer ground spices to a small food processor and add garlic and salt.  Grind mixture to a paste.  Add roasted pepper, tomato paste, and oil and process until smooth.


The harissa will keep, covered in a jar in the refrigerator, for weeks. It is HOT, savory and delicious.  Serve as a condiment with couscous and tagine. Makes 1/2 cup.



  • I use a rounded measure for each of the spices...and I remove the seeds from half of the chiles. 
  • If using a spice or coffee grinder to grind the spices and chiles, let the grinder sit for a moment or two before opening to allow the spices to settle. If you open it right away some of the spices and more significantly some of the chiles will be airborne—which will irritate your eyes and nose. 

(Harissa recipe courtesy of my friend Chef Nancy Stark)