Dersa (Algerian Chile Paste)


Algerian dersa is a spicy garlic and chile paste, similar to harissa, made by blending garlic, chile, 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, chile or cayenne pepper, and olive oil.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
15 mins
4 servings


  • 4 cloves garlic - peeled, halved, and germ (green sprout) removed

  • ½ small red chile pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Place garlic, chile pepper, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper in a mortar; grind into a paste using a pestle. Pour in olive oil and mix well.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

70 Calories
7g Fat
2g Carbs
1g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 70
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 293mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 5mg 26%
Calcium 13mg 1%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 51mg 1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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