Many of my favorite foods originate around the flavors of the Mediterranean, and I have a special love for those from North Africa!
The exotic spices of the markets from Morocco, the fierce heat of the chilies and the beauty of timeless recipes make my heart skip a beat. Harissa is a gorgeous, spicy paste that can be used as a marinade, mixed into stews or swirled into a bit of Greek yogurt to serve up with your meal.
Harissa is so easy to make and it will keep for up to two months in an airtight container in the fridge. Make it with your favorite red chilies, such as red jalapenos or try using a nice mix of different varieties. If you’re up for bringing tears to your eyes kind of hot, then add in some ghost peppers.
For the spices, you’ll get a more aromatic flavor if you toast your own cumin and coriander seeds and then grind them up in a pestle and mortar. No worries though, using already ground cumin and coriander will work nicely as well!
Tip: If you have family or friends that have a soft spot for spicy foods, this would be a great little gift from your kitchen to treat them with.
- 1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds, toasted and ground
- 1 Tbsp Coriander Seeds, toasted and ground
- 1 cup Red Chili Peppers, about 6 - 8 depending on size, roughly chopped. I used a mix of red Jalapenos and Ghost Peppers
- 4 Garlic Cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 - 2 tsp Olive Oil
- In a small skillet over medium heat, dry toast (no oil added) the Cumin and Coriander Seeds for about 2 - 3 minutes. Keep an eye on them, they can burn if not careful. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to use.
- Add the toasted Seeds to a pestle and mortar and grind up well into a powder.
- In a food processor, add the toasted, ground Cumin and Coriander Seeds, chopped Chilies, Garlic Cloves, Salt and Olive Oil. Blend them all up until you have a nice paste.
- Transfer paste to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
The flavors of freshly toasted spices are the best, but if you are unable to toast your own, you can use the same measurements of already ground Cumin and Coriander.
To insure that your Harissa keeps well, optionally you can pour 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil over the top of the paste when storing.
Stacey is a Southern girl with a taste for travel, thriving on the discovery of the world through food. After spending many years traveling and living overseas, she’s now back home in her beloved deep south enjoying life with her three little ones and loving the adventure. She’s a food stylist and food photographer, as well as, the creative behind Little Figgy Food, where she loves to inspire others to try new flavors and foodie techniques.