The Best Simple Rose Harissa Substitutes

rose harissa substitutes

Missing rose harissa? If you’re all out of the fragrant hot Moroccan / Tunisian chilli paste it’s all good. Just use one of these simple rose harissa substitutes.

What is Rose Harissa?

At it’s simplest, Rose Harissa is a paste made from pureeing fresh red chillies, garlic, ground coriander and carraway seeds with rose petals and / or rose water. It’s used in Moroccan and Tunisian food to give an addictive chilli hit. A little goes a long long way.

How is Rose Harissa different from regular Harissa

Rose harissa contains rose water and/ or rose petals so it has extra floral fragrance rather than just the heat of regular harissa.

They can be used pretty interchangeably although like any chilli paste you do get variation in heat level from brand to brand so best to start with less and increase quantities as needed.

The Best Rose Harissa Substitutes

1. Fresh Chopped Red Chilli + Carraway Seeds

If I’m out of Harissa I just mix up a quick substitute by finely chopping a few fresh red chillies and adding a pinch of carraway seeds and enough olive oil to make a pesto-like paste. Leave the seeds in for a stronger kick.

If you don’t have carraway seeds use ground coriander instead. And if you do happen to have rose water or rose petals lying around, feel free to add them!

2. Chilli Oil

I make my own, but there are plenty of great commercial chilli flavoured oils which will give a similar kick to rose harissa.

3. Hot Sauce

If a recipe calls for Harissa, often you just want some heat. In this case whatever hot sauce you have in the house will do the trick. Tabasco, sriracha, sambal oleck, chilli bean paste or korean Gochujang will all prove the kick needed.

Just be careful to match the amount to your heat tolerance. You can always add more if needed but fixing a fire-extinguisher dish is tricky!

4. Home Made Rose Harissa

If you want to be super authenitco (and are happy with long ingredients lists) you can make Yotam Ottolenghis Rose Harissa using this recipe.

Or you can make this more simple flavoursome sweet harissa. This much milder than commercial Harissa paste in a tube so you may need to use more than your recipe calls for.

My Favourite Recipes Using Harissa

Or see the Harissa archives.

More Ingredient Substitutes

Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.

Have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x

Rose Harissa image from The Essential Ingredient.