Harissa | Tunisian Chili Sauce

>>  Thursday, September 17, 2015

Next we move on to Tunisia to make their famous Harissa, the hot Chili sauce. While there are so many ways one makes the Harissa, the common methods being roasting the peppers and then making a paste. The chilies used serrano peppers along with other varieties. I have read about jalapenos being used as well.

Then I came upon this recipe which just used dried red chilies and the recipe was quite easy to make at home. I only made a small cup as the week I was making this sauce, I was mostly making condiments and there was already too many dips and sauces prepared.

It was interesting to note all the spices being used and that made me feel this will be a good sauce for dipping as well. We made Rajma Kabab and I felt this sauce will be spicy enough. It was really fiery hot and I mixed up some ketchup to tone down the spice. Though you can skip the ketchup if you want to stick to the authentic version.

Harissa | Tunisian Chili sauce

Ingredients Needed:

Makes about 1/2 cup of sauce

Dried Red chillies - 20 
Cumin seeds - 1 tbsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Fennel seeds - 3/4 tsp
Caraway seeds - 1/2 tsp
Garlic - 5 -6 cloves
Salt - 1/4 tsp
White Vinegar - 1 tsp
Olive oil - 2 tbsp

How to make the Harissa

Remove stack and place the dry chilies in hot water and soak for an hour.

Dry roast the spices over high heat. Toast for 3 minutes, stirring constantly, till fragrant. 

Remove the spices from the pan immediately to prevent burning, placing in a mortar and pestle. Roughly grind the spices with the pestle.

Drain the chillies, reserving a few tablespoons of the chilli water.

Now blend the garlic using chili water, then add the chili paste along with the spice powder, vinegar. Blend till very smooth. Add olive oil to get the smooth texture. 

Serve as a sauce or you can use it in any savory dish.


Though this is serve as such, I felt it was spicy, so mixed it with a little tomato ketchup and served. I know this may not be the authentic way of serving.

If you can bear the hot spice, use as such.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 56


Usha September 17, 2015 at 8:47 AM  

Yes, it was very spicy and I found it too spicy to be served as a dip. I used it as a marinade for my chicken and still have some in the fridge.

vaishali sabnani September 18, 2015 at 5:28 AM  

This is one sauce that won my heart , i made green harissa , which wasn't that spicy and we all loved it.

Padma Rekha September 19, 2015 at 12:21 PM  

Me to tried this when I was in Libya. I can just spread it on a bread and used to enjoy for my breakfast. Like that beautiful color Valli.

Sapana Behl September 20, 2015 at 1:26 AM  

Harrisa looks very flavorful.Love to try it soon.

The Pumpkin Farm September 20, 2015 at 1:15 PM  

it has all the local ingredients...and it indeed sounds deliciously spicy...i will love it

Priya Suresh September 20, 2015 at 11:08 PM  

We get this Harissa from stores, thats fabulous to make it at home.

Kalyani September 21, 2015 at 9:54 AM  

I wanted to try this, but keeping the spice factor gave up ! those kebabs are sooooo tempting :)))

Preeti Garg September 21, 2015 at 2:45 PM  

Love this spicy sauce with kebabs

Sandhiya September 21, 2015 at 4:44 PM  

Looks spicy & the kebabs are so inviting..

Harini-Jaya R September 22, 2015 at 4:34 AM  

This also seems to be a very popular condiment this week. Looks spicy and wonderful.

Srividhya September 22, 2015 at 11:52 PM  

A new sauce for me.. very yummy Good one

Priya Srinivasan September 23, 2015 at 11:02 AM  

Though i had this in my list, the A-Z craze drove it way!! Looks vibrant!!

sneha datar September 24, 2015 at 9:22 PM  

This sauce has become very popular in this BM.

Pavani N September 29, 2015 at 6:09 AM  

Your harissa chili sauce looks smooth and delicious. My husband loves it and puts it on just about everything.

Suma Gandlur September 30, 2015 at 5:38 AM  

Everyone has dished out fiery sauces one after another under condiments section. Must have gone well with those kababs.

Manjula Bharath October 7, 2015 at 1:09 PM  

wow thats my way sauce , I say it my way bcoz am a crazy spicy food lover :) Would love to make the sauce some time :) must have tasted yummy with those kababs !!

Padmajha PJ October 28, 2015 at 12:05 PM  

Looks so spicy! Like Usha mentioned, maybe we can use it to marinate tofu / paneer. Let's see..

Chef Mireille November 8, 2015 at 7:15 AM  

I have been making my own for a while now and yes it is very spicy and not generally used as a dip but more of a topping for food closer to the way achar is eaten but mixing it in with ketcup is a great idea

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