What is Rose Harissa Paste

Food For The Soul

Making your own spice mixtures at home is such a personal, warm and rewarding experience. You are simply relying on your individual sense of taste, sight and smell to add and subtract ingredients and create something beautiful just the way you like it.

I remember that in my grandmothers home in India, spices for that day's cooking were stone ground by hand on a flat mortar, using fresh ingredients, so just imagine the fragrance of fresh chilies, onions, ginger and turmeric floating from the kitchen and then going in your food on a daily basis. So incredibly beautiful!

Here in my American kitchen I am a spice mix geek and love making my version of the Harissa paste every couple of weeks and it literally goes with everything. Picking the right chilies depends on your taste and for me it depends on what I have on hand :) I had some spicy red chilies I use for Indian cooking and some beautiful large Ancho chilies that add that smoky flavor. The star here is the rose flavor. Do find organic food grade rose petals (amazon has them) and a good quality rose water.

In case you did not know, Harissa is the ever popular North African chili paste, the many versions now available know no borders or boundaries. Once you start making your personal version at home you will never buy a bottle in the store.

The measurements below are for reference but do have fun with and tweak as you wish. I have added very little olive oil to top it off but it helps if you are storing it for longer periods of time.

Lately I have been addicted to watching Ottolenghi on Masterclass so this version is inspired by his technique and ingredients.

Rose Harissa Paste

A beautiful blend of roasted chilies, spices and rose

* Use the chilies you like based on your tolerance for heat; * Adjust the spices to your taste; * Grind roughly


  • 3-4 Dried ancho or guajillo chiles
  • 10 small dried red chilies of your preferred variety (check the heat level)
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 tbsp organic food grade dried rose petals
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tbsp rose water
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinergar
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp raw sugar
  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt (to taste)
  • Olive oil (couple of tsps)


  1. Dry roast the whole chilies, remove stems but keep the seeds. Soak them in hot water for an hour
  2. Dry roast the garlic cloves
  3. Dry roast the cumin, coriander and caraway until just fragrant. Grind roughly in a mortar pestle to release the oils and flavors
  4. Use a grinder and add the chilies with some of the water it is soaking in. Give it a couple of pulses and then add the garlic and pulse again. You are looking for a thick rough paste so don't grind everything finely.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients except the olive oil and bring the mixture together
  6. Taste and adjust to taste.
  7. Place the paste in a mason jar and you cab add a layer of olive oil before storing in the fridge.

So many beautiful way to use this mix - I will be smothering some prawns with it this evening and adding it to my sweet potato pizza .. You can use it as a marinade, add some preserved lemons for extra tartness and top your hummus, roasted Vegetable and get that spicy kick to your stews and soups.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday. Thanks Eff @ Food Daydreaming for co-hosting!

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