Harissa is one of my fave spicy fiery hot condiments in the world! When I was recently in Tunisia, it was impossible to miss the gigantic hills of this paste at almost every market stall- and needless to say, I tried to enjoy the most of it while there!

Common in the “Petit Maghreb” countries (read: Tunisia, Morocco & Algeria), it’s a highly versatile paste that can be used in a hundred ways! In it’s most basic form, it’s made of hot chili peppers + garlic + salt + olive oil (for preservation).

Some pastes include coriander, caraway or cumin for extra flavour. I’ve also seen much fewer recipes floating around with raw onions or grilled red bell peppers. Then of course, there are those that get extra creative with additions of mint, lemon, or rose! The rose harissa caught my attention and I was intrigued to see how a floral heat would taste like… so in my typical curious self, I decided to make it myself 🙂 And now you can to! It’s an easy recipe, just be sure to wear gloves (preferably) and whatever you do, PLEASE DO NOT RUB YOUR EYES! 



Rose Harissa

You’ll need:

  • 100gr/4oz dried chili peppers*
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Small handful of dried rose buds
  • A few drops of rose water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Plastic gloves (optional- but recommended)

The process:

  • Soak the dried chili peppers for about 4 hours in a large bowl of warm water (until they become rehydrated & soft)
  • During that time, remove the
  • Drain the chili peppers and remove the seeds (if you can’t tolerate too much heat). Wear your gloves to do this, please 🙂
  • In a food processor, place the rehydrated chili peppers, garlic, salt and olive oil. Mix until it turns into a thick paste.
  • Remove the stem/sepal of the rose buds (the green part) and add the rose buds with a few droplets of rose water into the food processor. Do this gradually and taste along the way- you want a floral aroma, but it shouldn’t be overpowering and taste like soap.
  • Transfer the harissa into a jar or container of choice. This will store well in the fridge for a month! If it dries up on the top, just add a layer of olive oil 🙂


  • For my Jamaican peeps: I wouldn’t advise scotch bonnets for this recipe- they are TOO hot in my opinion (and you’d have to work with red ones for colour). You can find bags of dehydrated chili peppers in the Asian food section of most supermarkets. Look for the bags with the big peppers. The bigger, the better 🙂 
  • You can use the paste in countless ways: rubbed on roasted vegetables, in soups, in salad dressings, etc…


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