Makes 1 cup

  • 6 ounces dried red chiles
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup rose petals, washed (or substitute 1/2 cup dried rose petals)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 4 tablespoons rosewater
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for storing

Place the chiles in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes.

While chiles are soaking, toast caraway, coriander, and cumin in a dry skillet over low-medium heat, occasionally shaking or stirring to prevent burning. When the spices are fragrant, remove them from pan. Grind spices in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.

Drain the chiles, reserving the liquid. Remove and discard the stems and seeds from the chiles. (Wearing gloves is recommended to protect your hands.)

Pulse chiles, ground spices, garlic, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add rose petals, tomato paste, and rosewater, and pulse a couple more times. With food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and process to form a smooth and thick paste. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. If a thinner paste is desired, blend in a little of the chile soaking liquid until the paste has reached desired texture. Taste and adjust seasonings. The flavor of the harissa will deepen over the next day or two, but taste it now and add more salt or other optional ingredients to your liking.

Transfer the harissa to a jar and cover with a thin layer of olive oil. Cover the jar and refrigerate for up to a month, adding a fresh layer of olive oil on top each time you use the harissa. Serve with vegetables, potatoes, chicken, or fish.

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