Homemade harissa paste is easy to make and is a versatile condiment to have on hand. It’s great as a buger or sandwich spread or as a marinade or finishing sauce for meat or fish. I also love it on my breakfast eggs. You can use any type of hot red chili you like. Dried cayenne chiles work well. I like to use dried serranos from my garden when I have them. This condiment is meant to be spicy, but if you are using very hot chiles, be careful to remove as much of the ribs and seeds as you can or the result may be unbearably hot.
1 cup dried red chiles, stems, seeds, and ribs removed
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 small garlic clove
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil, plus additional if needed
- In a small, heat-safe bowl, cover the chiles with very hot water and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain the chiles, discarding the soaking liquid.
- Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat and toast the caraway and coriander seeds, shaking the pan occasionally, until they begin to pop and become aromatic, about 1 minute. Remove the seeds from the hot pan immediately and grind them in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.
- Transfer the chiles to a blender or food processor and add the garlic, ground spices, paprika, salt, and olive oil. Puree to a paste.
- Transfer to a clean jar and store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
- I highly recommend that you wear gloves when you are handling the dried chilies to remove the stems and seeds. I use disposable nitrile gloves (the kind used for medical exams). I buy them in boxes of 200 for around $15.
- Harissa paste will keep, in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator, for up to 3 months.