Dersa (Algerian Chilli Paste)

Dersa (Algerian Chilli Paste)

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Algerian dersa is a spicy garlic and chilli paste, similar to harissa, made by blending garlic, chilli, cumin and paprika together using a mortar and pestle. It is used a lot in the Maghreb region as a seasoning for fish, meat or potatoes. Not everyone uses exactly the same proportions or the same spices. Some people add lemon juice, others add parsley. In short, there are as many variations as there are tastes, but the basic ingredients are almost always the same: garlic, cumin, chilli or cayenne pepper and olive oil.


Serves: 8 

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 small red chilli, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation:15min  ›  Ready in:15min 

  1. Peel and halve the garlic cloves. Remove the germ (the green sprout) from the center of each.
  2. Add the garlic, chilli and spices to a mortar.
  3. Grind with a pestle until it forms a paste. Add olive oil and mix well.

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