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close up of rose harissa on burlap in brown bowl

Rose Harissa

This brick red spice paste mellowed by a touch of rose will become your favorite kitchen condiment. And if you have Ottolenghi's SIMPLE cookbook, now you can find one of his must-have ingredients - rose harissa.

Course Condiment
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Keyword condiment, North African cuisine, spice sauce
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 32 kcal


  • 4 Dried chili de arbol rehydrated
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil divided use
  • 2 serrano chilies chopped and seeded (preferable to use Fresno Chilies if you can find them)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon rose petals
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons shallot rough chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic rough chopped
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Pinch of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Fry coriander, cumin, caraway in 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Remove spices and reserve oil. Grind spices with rose petals with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder. Add smoked paprika.

    spices in mortar and pestle
  2. Heat reserved olive oil and 1 tablespoon olive oil in the same skillet until very hot. Add shallot, garlic and Serrano or Fresno chilis and hydrated chili de arbol. Saute until golden.

  3. Place sauteed mixture, remaining olive oil, spices, tomato paste, lemon juice, rose water, pinch of sugar and salt in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Add additional salt and rose water, if needed.

    angle shot of harissa in brown bowl on burlap
  4. Store in the refrigerator in a glass jar with a layer of olive oil
    poured over the top, if desired.