International Recipes and Cooking Around the World


Harissa Recipe (North African peppers and spice paste)

(North African peppers and spice paste)

Average: 4.1 (17 votes)

Harissa is a common spice paste seasoning in the Maghreb of Northern Africa, especially in Tunisia. It is used to add flavor to couscous, pasta, sandwiches and soups, either as a condiment or as an integral ingredient of dishes.

Makes about 3/4 cup

  • Paprika -- 1/4 cup
  • Cayenne pepper -- 1-2 tablespoons
  • Ground cumin -- 1-2 tablespoons
  • Ground caraway (optional) -- 1 tablespoon
  • Ground coriander (optional) -- 1 tablespoons
  • Salt -- 2 teaspoons
  • Olive oil -- 1/2 cup


  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl to form a paste. Will keep fresh for 2 to 3 months if stored refrigerated.

Harissa Notes and Variations

  • The amount and proportion of spices can be varied according to your taste.
  • Add 2 or 3 cloves of garlic or 1 or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste for a richer, rounder flavor.
  • Substitute 3 or 4 New Mexico, ancho or other dried chilies for some or all of the paprika if you like. Soak the chilies in warm water first to soften them up.


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