The Washington Post

Rose Petal Harissa

Rose Petal Harissa 2.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Aug 4, 2017

This is rich-tasting and mighty spicy, so use it sparingly.

To read the accompanying story, see: Is this Tunisian chile paste the new sriracha? Not yet, but it sure should be.

Make Ahead: The dried chiles for the harissa need to soak for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. The harissa needs to cure in the refrigerator for 1 day before serving; it can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

Where to Buy: Dried rose petals and rose water are available at Mediterranean markets.

2 generous cups

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 2 generous cups

  • 3 ounces dried guajillo chile peppers, stemmed (not seeded)
  • 1 1/2 ounces dried ají amarillo chile peppers (also sold as ají mirasol), stemmed (not seeded)
  • Boiling water
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons caraway seed
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seed
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed
  • 3 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried rose petals (see headnote)
  • 10 to 12 tablespoons lime juice (from 4 to 6 limes), or more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon rose water (see headnote)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for storing
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, or more as needed

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Combine the chile peppers in a medium pot, adding enough of the boiling water to cover them. Bring to a boil over high heat, then remove from the heat and weight the chiles with a smaller pan to ensure they're all submerged. Allow them to sit, covered, for at least 2 hours or until they are soft. (Depending on the chiles, it might not take that long; just make sure the skins are soft.) Drain; reserve the soaking water.

Combine the caraway, cumin, coriander and fennel seeds in a large saute pan over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until they are toasted and fragrant and some of them begin to pop. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Once the spices have cooled, transfer them to a food processor; pulse until the spices are ground almost to a powder. Add the garlic and rose petals, and pulse about 10 times to form a dry paste.

Working in two batches, and wearing gloves if you're sensitive to spice, add half of the soaked chiles to the food processor, along with any water that comes along for the ride. Add half of the lime juice and half of the rose water; pulse until the chiles are finely chopped, stopping to scrape down the sides and top of the food processor bowl as needed. (This might take 3 or 4 minutes total, so be patient. You're looking for the texture of small-curd cottage cheese.) If the mixture seems too thick, add some of the reserved cooking/soaking water, about 2 tablespoons at a time, until the mixture moves easily in the food processor.

Once the chiles are finely chopped, add half of the oil and half of the salt; pulse until well incorporated. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid; add the remaining chiles, lime juice, rose water, oil and salt; add the processed mixture to the container.

Taste, adding some lime juice and/or salt, as needed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 day before using. To store long-term, scoop the harissa into pint-size jars, pour a thin layer of oil on top and refrigerate.

Recipe Source

Adapted from “A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus: Menus and Stories” by Renee Erickson with Jess Thomson (Sasquatch Books, 2014).

Tested by Kara Elder.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per tablespoon: 35

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 2g 3%

Saturated Fat: 0g 0%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 105mg 4%

Total Carbohydrates: 3g 1%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: 2g

Protein: 0g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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