I started eating large quantities of harissa around the time I first tried Heidi Swanson's recipe for harissa spaghettini, a simple but oh-so-delicious spicy pasta dish with kale and olives that has since become a weekly staple in my diet. As a result, I keep bulk amounts of harissa spice mix in the cupboards at all times so that I'm always prepared for an impromptu feast. Initially however, I ran into the problem of finding harissa paste, so I started making my own simple version out of spices, a little olive oil, lemon, and garlic.
When making the spice mix, it's best to use whole spices and grind them yourself, but to be perfectly honest I think it's still pretty packed with flavor if you don't. This recipe results in a paste that is less thick than a traditional paste and doubles as an exotic olive oil dip for your table bread.
harissa spice blend
1T caraway seeds
1T dried mint