Dersa (Algerian Chilli Paste)

    15 minutes

    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.

    3 people made this

    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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    Reviews in English (1)


    This was delicious! The 1/2 of a small red chile pepper is vague. I didn't know what kind of red chile but it turns out all I could find fresh that was red was a jalapeno. Because jalapeno's are typically mild in the heat department for us, I used the entire pepper and also left the seeds in. So while I'm not sure I made this as intended, it still came out excellent!  -  04 Nov 2017  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)