Harissa Paste

Have you come across recipes that require using harissa paste and had no clue what it is?! I was; when I came across a recipe for Moroccan red lentils soup. I could relate to all the flavours of this soup except for harissa paste that I had never heard about and began exploring. I found that Harissa paste is a North African spicy red sauce. It consists of simple ingredients like red chillies, garlic, vinegar, and spices such as cumin, coriander seeds, caraway seeds, and is perfect for adding smokiness and heat to dishes like hummus, lentil chili, pasta sauce, soups and more.

Harissa Paste Recipe


  • Red Chillies 4
  • Cumin seeds 3/4 tsp
  • Coriander seeds 1/2 tsp
  • Caraway seeds/ ajwain 1/4 tsp
  • Garlic 1, minced
  • Smoked paprika powder 1/2 tsp (substitute with kashmiri red chilli powder)
  • Rock salt 1/4 tsp
  • Lemon juice 1-1/2 tsp
  • White vinegar 3/4 tsp
  • Olive oil 1 tbsp (substitute with water in which red chillies were boiled in)
  • Tomato 1, small, diced


1) Remove stalk from red chillies. With the help of kitchen shears cut the red chilli and remove the seeds.

2) Repeat with all the chillies.

3) Transfer the red chillies and seeds to a small sauce pan. Add 1/2 cup water. Cover with a lid and bring the water to a boil on low flame.

4) While the chillies hydrate, heat a pan on low flame and add cumin seeds.

5) Add coriander seeds.

6) Dry roast for 2-3 minutes on low flame until the seeds turn aromatic. Do not fry till they become very dark. Turn off flame. Keep aside.

7) Once cooled, blend to a fine powder. Add caraway seeds.

8) Dice the tomato and mince the garlic.

9) Add minced garlic and kashmiri red chilli powder to the blender.

10) Add rock salt.

11) Add lemon juice.

12) Add white vinegar.

13) Add diced tomatoes.

14) Add olive oil. This can also be substituted with the water in which the red chillies were boiled in.

15) This is what the hydrated red chillies look like after simmering.

16) Using things/a spoon pick the red chillies and transfer to the blender jar.

17) Blend the contents to a fine paste and you have harissa paste ready.

What would you use this paste in? Do share, I would love to hear about it.

If you happen to try this Harissa Paste Recipe; leave a comment, let me know how it turned out.
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