Homemade Rose/Rozen Harissa? It’s bloody simple

Homemade Rose/Rozen Harissa? It’s bloody simple

Anyone who dives into the world of Israelian Food will undoubtedly have noticed that Rose Harissa plays an important role in this cuisine. Partly under the influence of chef Yottam Ottolenghi, the demand for this product has increased enormously over the world. Unfortunately, it’s a product that isn’t really easy to find in the supermarket over here. Fortunately, it is not so difficult to make. The biggest challenge lies in the balanced addition of the rose taste by means of rose water. Can’t find it? Then I will explain in this post how you can make the rose water for these roses harissa yourself.

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. All opinions expressed are personal and sincere.

Although my structuring abilities (or the lack of it) often brings me some problems, there are times when things seem to fall into place. It can even be very simple at times. Last week I let my wife attend a workshop on Middle Eastern cuisine, and before I realised, the book “Simple” by Yottam Ottolenghi is on my bookshelf. A book that has been on my wishlist for months. Simple isn’t it? Before the week was over, I’ve been served with tons of inspiration for fun dishes to share. Starting with the Rose Harissa. According to the workshop instructor, Rose Harissa is nowhere to be found and can only be ordered online. Right… I thought. Like I’m going to wait for that? If there’s no Rose Harissa for sale, there must be a way to make it yourself, right? Some research even tought me that it’s easier than one might think. Especially when you can buy rose water at the Asian supermarket. If you don’t? No worries! In supermarkets or tea shops you will undoubtedly find dried rose petals. Add a handful of these rose petals to 300 ml. of water and boil until the rose petals have lost their color. Then let it cool down and you have the rose water to make your own homemade Rose Harissa.

Rozen Harissa

Making Rose Harissa at home is as hard as making a sauce… You just need to add the right amount of rose water in the end. Tasting is very important though. Depending on the amount of roses added to your homemade rose water the taste can be more concentrated, so the challenge lies in finding the right balance where the floral rose taste, without it being dominant. The last thing you want is a perfume-like taste in your food. If you make your own rose water, it may be advisable to add the rose water per half teaspoon until the Roses Harissa is balanced. Have fun and enjoy your food!

Rose Harissa
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Making rose water from scratch
1 hr
Total Time
15 mins
Thanks to Yotam Ottolenghi lot’s of people are on a quest for rose harissa. Yet people often seem to forget that it might be easier to make your own than to go out and search for the product in the store. With this recipe you’re already one step closer. Have fun cooking!
Course: hot sauce, sauce
Cuisine: middle eastern, North African, Tunesian
Keyword: from scratch, homemade, hot sauce, Ottolenghi, rose harissa, simple
Servings: 250 gr.
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves of pureed garlic
  • 2 pieces star anise
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • 10 fresh red chilli peppers or for extra spicy: add some Madame Jeanette chillies or other chillies to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 lemon for the juice and the zest
  • 70 gr tomato paste
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp rose water
  1. Remove the seeds from the peppers and cut them into small cubes. For extra spice, leave the seed stems in, if you want the Harissa on the milder side, remove the seed stems before cutting the chillies.

  2. Put the oil in a saucepan and stew the garlic and spices in it so they can optimally dissolve their flavor.

  3. Add the chopped chillies and cook in the oil for a few minutes.
  4. Deglaze with the tomato puree and leave to cook for a few more minutes.
  5. Season to taste with salt, sugar, zest of a lemon and the juice of half a lemon.
  6. Season to taste with the rose water. Taste and, if desired, add some more flavourings to bring the whole in balance (may vary depending on the peppers you use).
  7. Add the Rose Harissa to a clean weck jar and allow to cool.

Pour some oil over it so the harissa is completely covered. This way you can keep the harissa in the refrigerator for at least two weeks.

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