How do I Make Turkish Chili Sauce?

by Nicole Carlin

Turkish chili sauce is used to provide a spicy kick to flavorful, meaty Turkish dishes such as "doner" kebab and shwarma sandwiches. The chili sauce goes by many names including harissa sauce, sahaweq, zhug or red sauce. There are two ways to make chili sauce -- a very simple recipe and one that is slightly more time consuming. Always top your dishes with a small amount of chili sauce and taste them to make sure you have included the right amount of spiciness. Many dishes have been ruined because of over-spicing the chili sauce.


Combine canola oil, chili powder and paprika in a small saucepan.

Heat the chili oil for two minutes. You should start to smell the fragrant spices as the oil heats. Watch the sauce carefully, as the spices will burn quickly if you leave them unattended.

Remove the sauce from the heat and transfer it to a bowl to cool.

More Complicated

Using a sharp knife, chop the tomatoes finely.

Grind the cilantro, garlic, red-pepper flakes, cardamom pods and cumin with a mortar and pestle.

Transfer the ground spices to a bowl and add the tomatoes.

Top the sauce with a pinch of salt and pepper.


  • Combine chili sauce with yogurt or sour cream to create a creamy texture.

Photo Credits

  • Maria Trujillo/Demand Media

About the Author

Nicole Carlin is a registered yoga teacher. Her writing has been published in yoga and dance teacher training manuals for POP Fizz Academy. Carlin received a Masters of Arts in gender studies from Birkbeck University in London and a Bachelors of Arts in psychology from Temple University, Philadelphia.