Thursday 25 April 2013

rose harissa chilli sauce

Rose harissa chilli sauce - a real 'knock your socks off' chilli sauce with plenty of flavour - influenced by the traditional North African harissa sauce.  Great for marinades, as a dipping sauce or just serving as a condiment with your food.  My rose harissa chilli sauce is inspired by the brilliant Salt Sugar Smoke by Diana Henry and an adaption of her recipe for harissa.  I highly recommend you get yourself a copy - an inspiring and eclectic read about preserving.  Delicious!

Harissa has many uses in North African cooking and is also popular in countries where these populations have immigrated, for example in the UK and France. It is often seen served to accompany stews and cous cous dishes or as a marinade for meat. However as well as using harissa in the more traditional way it is also great on burgers or even a fried egg! 

My harissa recipe includes the addition of rose petal jam that I have had in my cupboard for ages picked up on a trip to France.  However you could easily substitute this with rose flower water - another North African staple ingredient.  The resulting sauce has a big chilli kick but also a really full and complex mix of flavours - citrussy, garlicky and floral all at the same time.  I hope you enjoy it.

My recipe for rose harissa lamb with roast vegetable salad will follow shortly........


3 tsp coriander seeds
3 tsp caraway seeds
3 tsp cumin seeds
6 fresh chillies (I leave the seeds in, but you can take them out if you want)
3 tsp dried chilli flakes
10 garlic cloves
juice and zest of 1 lemon
small bunch of fresh coriander
2 tbs rose petal jam or rose flower water
100ml oil  (plus more for storing)
100ml water
salt to taste

  • add the coriander, caraway and cumin seeds to a dry pan and toast for about 3-4 minutes to release the flavour - do not take your eye off this as you need to be careful not to burn the spices.  When this is done blitz in a spice mill or pestle and mortar. 
  • next add all the other ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth.   At this stage you can omit the water for a thicker paste but I am going for a thick, pouring consistency. 

  • pour the blended sauce into a sterilised jar and top with a layer of oil to help preservation. Store in the fridge -  I would use this within 3 weeks - but it will definitely be gone before then!  You can of course make a smaller batch of this recipe to start off with to see how you get on.

rose harissa chilli sauce  on Punk Domestics

I am also entering this recipe onto: Four Seasons Food hosted by Delicieux and Chezfoti to go with their BBQ and BBQ sides theme.

Four Seasons Food


  1. Another fabulous entry! This sounds AMAZING! Homemade rose scented harissa. Surely this would elevate any barbecue to a dizzy new heights?! Thanks so much for entering it to FSF.

    1. I'm so grateful for all your lovely comments. It's a fab sauce - great as a sauce and marinade. I've run out right now so need to whizz up another batch ;-)

  2. How I wish I'd come across this before writing my article! It looks absolutely beautiful, and a lot more liquid than Paula Wolfert's harous.
    It's interesting that I STILL haven't got to the bottom of the right chillies to be using though. From the looks of it, fresh chillies are a pretty good option!

    1. Hi there Rachel - thanks for stopping by. It's a delicious recipe, but am always up for adapting and changing. Will definitely be trying the harous. But at the mo have a saucepan full of dried chillies rehydrating waiting for their next incarnation - am thinking a bit of rosehip may be involved - some sort of harissa type paste....still mulling it over....
      Great article by the way - a really interesting read :-)