Moroccan Harissa Sauce is a spicy red hot sauce prepared from hot chilli peppers. To give an extra flavour, ingredients like lemon juice, coriander seed, cumin seed are added to this sauce. Here is how to make it.
I am a huge fan of sauces and dips.
Recently, I also made Moroccan Harissa Sauce after a friend recommended it to me after listening about my love for sauces and dips.
What is Harissa Sauce?
This sauce is a spicy and hot red pepper paste or sauce which is traditionally made in North African and Moroccan cuisine.
This Moroccan Sauce is easy to make and gives a nice heat and smokiness to the dishes it is added to.
It’s very easy to make and can be stored in a refrigerator for almost a week.
This Harissa Paste is
- Easy to make
To make Moroccan Harissa Paste, you will need red bell pepper and Fresno chillies.
If Fresno chillies are not available, you can use any red chilli that is mildly hot.
You will also need bird’s eye chillies which is a very hot variety of chillies.
Apart from these main ingredients, you will need coriander seeds, cumin seeds, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic.
A lot of people add caraway seed in their Harissa Paste recipe but I just choose to skip it.
These seeds add a mild liquorice flavour to the sauce and are traditionally added.
Adding some smoked paprika gives mild heat and smokiness to this hot sauce.
Middle Eastern people add preserved lemons in their Harissa Hot Sauce and it gives a very nice tang to it.
Some people make their Harissa Hot Sauce using dry red chillies in place of red bell peppers.
You can do that as well. I will share the method below to make the Harissa paste using dry red chillies.
Traditionally, this paste is made in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
But, with all our busy schedules, I like making homemade Harissa quickly in a food processor.
Similar to other great recipes of sauces, Harissa recipe requires you to roast the peppers.
This process gives Harissa Paste Recipe a strong flavour.
The chillies are charred and only then they are used.
Talking about the process, I have used three kinds of chillies to make this paste.
For instance, red bell peppers, Fresno chillies, red birds eye’s chillies.
Fresno Chillies look like Red Jalapenos.
You may substitute with Red Serrano peppers as well or any mild red chilli for that matter.
This spicy, red, hot Moroccan sauce is very versatile and can be used as a spread on sandwiches, for marination and even as a topping on your pizzas.
I completely enjoy using it and eating it with different combinations.
Chicken breasts or thighs, lamb or fish marinated with this sauce and then grilled to perfection is one of my favourite ways to use this sauce.
Shrimps go quite well with the sauce too.
You can add some of it in your traditional Hummus to give a smoky and hot flavour. It goes great in Mutabal as well.
A little bit added in pasta sauce or in salad dressings is my fav way to use it too.
You can also add it in stews like this Instant Pot Chicken Stew or soups like Slow Cooker Potato Soup, Red Lentil Soup or Pumpkin Curry Soup.
Add a little in salad dressings like vinaigrettes to add a depth of flavour.
Roasted veggies, lentil chili, eggplant brushed with this sauce and grilled, mayo spiked with this Moroccan sauce etc are some other ways to use it.
Here is the recipe for making this lip-smacking sauce at home!
Do not miss it any chance as it would really perk up your meals, even snacks or any occasions for which you would serve it.
Can you freeze this sauce?
You can refrigerate it in freeze safe containers for up to 2 months and can refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Green Harissa Sauce?
Add some Jalapeno, Scallion, and Cilantro in the below recipe and skip adding the red bell pepper, Fresno chillies and bird’s eye chillies to make green harissa sauce.
Harissa Sauce using Dry Red Chillies
To make this paste using dry red chillies, use a mix of mild and hot dry chillies.
Using a mix of chillies gives a nice depth of flavours to this harissa paste.
You can use chillies like New Mexico Chiles, Dried Pasilla Negro Chiles and Dried Ancho Mulato Chiles. All of these are available online.
Soak the dry chillies in hot water for 15 minutes.
Discard their seeds and stem and add them in a blender along with other ingredients.
Blend to make a smooth harissa paste.
o not use red bell pepper, Fresno chillies and bird’s eye chillies if making this paste using dry chillies.
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Step by Step Recipe
Dry roast coriander and cumin seeds until browned and fragrant and keep aside.
Roast the red peppers over direct flame until charred from all sides. Cool and remove the charred skin.
Discard the seeds and chop into small pieces.
Add all the ingredients in a blender.
Blend to make a smooth paste.
Harissa Sauce Recipe
- 1 tsp Coriander Seeds
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 2 Red Bell Peppers
- 4-5 Fresno Chillies (Any less spicy red chilli will do.)
- 2-3 Bird's Eye Chillies (Any spicy chilli will do.)
- 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Salt
- 5-6 cloves Garlic
- 2 tsp Lemon Juice
- Dry roast coriander and cumin seeds until browned and fragrant and keep aside.
- Roast the red peppers over direct flame until charred from all sides.
- Cool and remove the charred skin.
- Discard the seeds and chop into small pieces.
- Wash and cut the Fresno chilies into small pieces.
- Discard the seeds.
- Add all the ingredients in a blender.
- Blend to make a smooth paste.
- Store in a clean jar.
- Top with some more olive oil.
- Store in refrigerator for a week.