Harrisa FAQ

Harrisa: All You Need To Know About

Smokey, tangy, sweet. Whatever flavour palette you prefer, Harrisa can provide. Harissa is a very versatile spice that is available to be pre-bought in jars, tubs or as a powder. Harissa is also easy to make on your own, is healthy and can be tweaked to suit your exact flavour preference.  

What is Harissa?

Born for Middle Eastern and North African cuisines, Harissa is a spicy chile pepper paste that has been transforming meals for centuries. Currently, Harissa is most popular in Morocco and Tunisia where it is a staple condiment that is often homemade. 

The name ‘Harissa’ origins come from the Arabic word ‘harasa’ which means to crush or pound. It is named so because the paste is made by grinding chiles together with olive oil, spices and garlic. 

Is Harrisa Healthy

Absolutely. 

Harissa ingredients are fresh, whole foods, traditional spices and olive oil. While Harissa paste ingredients vary between families, the most common ingredients are chilli peppers, spices like coriander, caraway cumin and smoked paprika, olive oil, which is one of the most important fats one can have in their diets, garlic, salt and lemon juice or vinegar for a splash of acidity.

Due to the large range of nutritious spices, Harissa contains, Harissa is also high in iron calcium and vitamin A which can help prevent obesity, muscular degeneration and digestive problems. 

Is Harissa Gluten-free

Yes. Harissa is generally gluten-free. 

Can Harissa Paste Be Frozen

Yes. Harissa paste can be frozen. Freezing the paste preserves the integrity of the ingredients and their flavour profiles. Because Harissa paste is always cooked when used, the texture that may result from freezing won’t compromise your meals. 

Harissa Alternative

Harissa vs Rose Harissa

Made the same way as traditional Harissa, Rose Harissa has the addition of rose petals or rosewater (or sometimes both) to soften the blow of the chillies. The gentle flavours of rose offer floral notes to an otherwise smokey paste which provides an extra depth of delicious flavours.

Harissa vs Chipotle

Chipolte paste is a puree made from dried chilies called chipoltle. Chipotle chillies are jalapenos that have been smoked and dried. The other ingredients are very similar to Harissa paste. Chipotle and Harissa are often used to substitute each other as they have similar smokey flavours. 

Harissa vs Ras El Hanout

Ras El Hanout is a spice blend that consists of over a dozen spices. These spices include cardamom, cumin, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, allspice, dry ginger, chilli peppers, coriander seed, peppercorn, sweet and hot paprika, fenugreek, and dry turmeric. Most of these spices have a permanent home in everyone’s kitchen which makes it easy to whip up at a moments notice. 

Harissa vs Siracha

Harissa and Siracha are interchangeable as they have similar heat levels. However, their flavours and consistency vary greatly so you might find yourself reaching for one over the other for different recipes. 

Harissa with Saffron

Adding saffron spices to your Harissa powder or paste is an excellent way to boost the flavour profile and the health benefits of the paste. Saffron will add a high dose of antioxidants to your harissa as well as mood-boosting effects. Simply grind your saffron into your Harissa paste the same way you would your other spices. 

Harissa Uses and Cooking Ideas

Harissa sauce can be used the same way Australians use tomato sauce, hot sauce or ketchup- on absolutely everything! Harissa pairs beautifully with grilled meats, bread, potatoes, eggs and any Moroccan tagine. 

Our suggestions for how to cook with harissa include:

  1. Use it as a marinade for your meats or vegetables for a spicy punch. 
  2. Add Harissa into your mincemeat mix when making meatballs, bolognese or sausage rolls. 
  3. Combine Harissa with yogurt for a healthy flavoursome creamy dipping sauce.  
  4. Add Harissa into your vegetable or meat stews alongside couscous.
  5. Stir Harissa through your favourite soups. 
  6. Harissa works as a delicious salad dressing when paired with tahini or vinegar. 

This is just the tip of the surface of all the harissa ideas for use in cooking. How much harissa paste to use is completely up to your taste preference! Whether you prefer spicy Harissa or mild Harissa spice levels, there is a paste for you.