Whilst on a shopping expedition, I noticed my local not-so-mega mart had acquired a large selection of dried chilies. Being from Texas, my first thought was of chili, we have done that here, prior, and it was good, but not what I wanted. Having associated for many years with a number of Israelis, my next though was Zough, or Harissa.

Now my better half has a thing for hummus, and harissa goes oh, so well with hummus, and pairs quite well with a more plant based diet, so harissa it is.

One might use it to pump up a chicken stock or soup, as well as the spice in a yogurt or sour cream dip. Or thin with additional oil and vinegar to build a drizzle or tarka for hummus, beans or greens.

When first made it can be rather pungent and spicy, and will mellow as it is aged. Unless there is a testosterone overdose in progress, I tend to allow this to age for at least a day.

From Wikipedia:

Harissa is a North African hot chili pepper paste, the main ingredients of which are roasted red peppers, Baklouti peppers or serrano peppers, spices and herbs such as garlic paste, caraway seeds, coriander seeds, cumin and olive oil to carry the oil-soluble flavors.

Recipes for harissa vary according to the household and region. Variations can include the addition of fermented onions or lemon juice. Prepared harissa is sold in jars, cans, bottles and tubes. Harissa is sometimes described as “Tunisia’s main condiment”, even “the national condiment of Tunisia”, or at least as “the hallmark of Tunisia’s fish and meat dishes”. In Tunisia, harissa is used as an ingredient in a meat (poultry, beef, goat, or lamb) or fish stew with vegetables, and as a flavoring for couscous. It is also used for lablabi, a chickpea soup usually eaten for breakfast.


The quintessential mediterranean condiment. Chili paste with garlic, citrus, garlic and spices. Perfect to add a RogueChef twist to a sauce or dish
Prep Time 45 minutes
Aging 1 day
Total Time 1 day 45 minutes
Course Ingredient, Sauce
Cuisine Arabic, Mediterranean
Servings 8 servings
Calories 79 kcal


  • Food Processor


  • 8 ea Dried Mild Chilies New Mexico, Hatch, or Ancho
  • 10 ea Dried Hot Chilies Guajilo, Ancho, Chipotle,  or Arbol
  • 6 cloves Garlic Peeled, Minced
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 tbsp Cumin Seed Toasted, Ground
  • 2 tsp Coriander Seed Toasted, Ground
  • 1 tsp Caraway seed
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil Good Stuff
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice Use the zest as well
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp Salt


  • Remove stems and seeds from dried chilies. (Keep the seeds for extra heat)
  • Place chilies into a medium bowl and cover with very hot water, cover to rehydrate and steam, ~20 minutes
  • Add spices, garlic, and salt to food process, pulse to mix
  • Add lemon juice and zest, vinegar, pulse to mix
  • Drain the rehydrated peppers, add to food processor, process to a paste, scraping sides as needed
  • Stream in the olive oil to create the texture desired
  • Taste, season, and balance flavor.
  • Scoop into a non reactive container and age in fridge for a day


The pepper blend here is adjusted to my palate.  One may want to start with more mild peppers, and less hot peppers.
This can be used as a straight up condiment on shawarma, or falafel, or straight up as a rub for chicken or lamb. It can be included in a marinade for chicken or lamb, or as part of an overall sauce.  (Think yogurt, and caramelized onions)
One can thin with additional olive oil and use as a drizzle / tarka for hummus, beans or greens.
I have an idea to marinate blocks of tofu in a harissa / sesame / soy mix …
The flavors will  improve whilst in the fridge, but will be quite flavorful after a day of aging.
When tasting / seasoning / balancing the flavor:
  • Add cayenne pepper for heat.
  • Mellow with sugar if needed.
  • Add vinegar / lemon for tartness.
  • Add tomato paste / paprika for depth.


Calories: 79kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 1gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 311mgPotassium: 100mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 849IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 16mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Jalapeno, Lemon, Peppers, Sauce
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

  Filed under: Autumn, Cold, Condiment, Ingredient, Israeli, Mediterranean, Sauce, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter

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