Alon Shaya

Shaya, New Orleans

"You can buy harissa at the store, and if there’s a brand that you already know you like, feel free to use it. NYSHUK makes a great one. But making it yourself gives you the chance to use the best spices and peppers without any crappy additives. And it’s fun." —Alon Shaya

Use this harissa to top Shaya's hummus with lamb ragù.


  • 15 dried chiles de árbol
  • 2 dried guajillo chiles
  • 1 dried ancho chile
  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1⁄2 cup olive oil


Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the dried peppers and remove from heat. Let steep for 1 hour.

Strain the peppers, pat them dry, and gently pull them open to de­seed with your fingers. Here’s a trick: keep a bowl of water next to you and dip your fingers in the water to rinse off the seeds as you work. You want to get rid of them all; otherwise the harissa will be crazy spicy! Finely chop the peppers together.

Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a small, dry skillet or saucepan over low heat for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Meanwhile, whack the garlic with the side of your knife a few times to crush it.

Grind the toasted seeds in a mortar and pestle or food processor until they’re pretty fine, then add the garlic and grind to a paste.

Stir in the chopped peppers, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, smoked paprika, and tomato paste. Once again, grind or process to a paste, pulling out any of the papery pepper skins as you work. Add the olive oil and then pass everything through a food mill or medium ­mesh sieve.


heaping 1⁄2 cup