If your only encounter with harissa is in the spice isle of the supermarket then try making your own homemade harissa paste to add pizazz to almost any dish and you will soon be a huge fan of this versatile spice blend.
Homemade Harissa Spice Paste
Harissa is a handy spice to have to hand in the kitchen. Great for livening up soups and stews and stirring into yoghurt for a quick and easy dip.
My homemade harissa tastes way better than the stuff you can buy in the supermarket. Once you’ve tried this quick and easy harissa paste recipe I promise you’ll never buy the store version again.
What is Harissa
Harissa is an aromatic spicy paste that hails from Tunisia and is first documented back in the 16th century.
It is a hot fiery red sauce/paste that is used as both a marinade and as a dipping sauce and serving sauce in its own right.
What’s in harissa
This fiery sauce is made up of chilli peppers, tomato paste, garlic, vinegar and lots of spices. Bring these elements together and you get a condiment that is perfect for adding aromatic spice to any savoury dish.
Ingredients for homemade harissa paste
Spices – coriander, cumin, fennel, caraway seeds and salt
garlic and chilli peppers
olive oil and white wine vinegar
A touch of mint
There are lots of different recipes for harissa out there. I sometimes like to ring the changes with this one by adding about 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh mint after the cooking stage.
It is one of those handy little recipes you can get a wee bit creative with yourself and have some fun with.
How to make your D.I.Y. Harissa Paste
Toast the spices first in a dry pan. Now this takes less than a minute and you must watch them like a hawk as they can easily catch and burn.
You will know when they are toasted as soon as they start to emit all their wonderful aromatic scents. Tip them out of the hot pan immediately to stop them cooking.
Grind the spices in a pestle and morter or spice grinder
Whizz the garlic and chilli in food processor and add the passata/tomato paste, oil and vinegar and whizz again
Pour the mixture into a small pan boil then simmer for 10 minutes and add the ground spices and stir well.
Cool and spoon into a sterilised jar. Leave for an hour for the flavours to really develop.
How long will this keep?
This homemade harissa will keep well in the fridge for about a week.
Freezing harissa paste
You can make bigger quantities of harissa paste and freeze it. Either freeze in small bags or in an ice cube tray then pop out the harissa paste cubes and store in a freezer bag.
This way you have perfect little servings of harissa paste to use in your cooking any time.
How to use homemade harissa paste
I like to mix my harissa paste a little with mayonnaise and spread this on a burger bun. Or actually add the harissa paste into my burger mix to get that fiery flavour right into the burger itself.
You can mix some harissa with olive oil and spread over sweet potato chunks for roasting.
It’s excellent with lamb and even good added to simple baked eggs with spinach.
Thin out the harissa with oil and use as a glaze when roasting lamb or chicken.
Mix your harissa paste with Greek yoghurt for a super easy spicy dip for crisps/chips or veggies.
Looking for more super easy seasonings and sauces to make? Then check these out before you go;
Looking for more easy spice mixes etc to make at home? Then check these out before you go;
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PS This homemade Harissa is just one of the 50 Easy Homemade Pantry Staples I have put together in one place to make things easy for you. Making your own store cupboard basics is fun, easy and saves money too.
Homemade Harissa paste
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp caraway seeds
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 4 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 large red chillies
- 4 tbsp pasatta or tomato paste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- pinch salt to taste
- dash of white wine vinegar
- Toast all the spices in a dry pan until they are aromatic, watch that they don't burn.
- Tip from the pan on to a plate to stop them cooking.
- Grind the spices either in pestle and mortar or spice grinder.
- Blitz the chillies and garlic in food processor and add the pasatta, oil, salt and vinegar and blitz again.
- Tip into a small pan and bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the spices and stir well to combine.
- Allow to cool and ladle into a sterilised jar.
- Leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour to allow the flavours to develop.
- Will keep in the fridge for up to a week.