Armenia National Dish: Harissa

If you’re looking to explore Armenia’s rich culinary history, then look no further than harissa, the Armenia National Dish. Harissa is a hearty porridge made from wheat and meat, traditionally served during the winter months. This article will provide a comprehensive guide to harissa, its history, ingredients, cooking methods, and nutritional value. We’ll also explore its cultural significance and provide tips on where to find the best harissa in Armenia.

History of Armenia National Dish

Harissa has been a staple of Armenian cuisine for centuries. Its origins date back to the medieval period, where it was first mentioned in a 10th-century Armenian manuscript. The dish was traditionally served to soldiers as a high-energy food during times of war. It was also a popular dish during the winter months when fresh vegetables were scarce.

Ingredients of Harissa

The key ingredients of harissa are wheat, meat (usually chicken or lamb), and water. Some recipes also include butter, salt, and pepper. The wheat is boiled for several hours until it becomes a soft and thick porridge-like consistency. The meat is then added to the mixture and cooked for several hours until it is tender and falls apart easily.

Cooking Methods

Harissa is traditionally cooked in a large cauldron over an open fire, which can take several hours. However, with modern cooking methods, it is now possible to cook harissa on a stovetop or in a slow cooker. The key to a good harissa is slow cooking, which allows the flavors to develop and the meat to become tender.

Nutritional Value of Harissa

Harissa is a high-energy dish that is rich in protein, fiber, and carbohydrates. A serving of harissa can provide up to 800 calories, making it an excellent source of energy during the cold winter months. However, it is also high in fat, so it should be consumed in moderation.

Cultural Significance of Armenia National Dish

Harissa is more than just a dish in Armenia, it is a cultural icon. It is a symbol of Armenia’s resilience and survival through difficult times. It is a dish that has been passed down from generation to generation, and it is a source of pride for Armenians around the world.

Best Places to Try Harissa in Armenia

If you’re looking to try harissa in Armenia, then there are several places that you should consider. One of the most famous places to try harissa is the village of Musaler, where the dish is believed to have originated. Other great places to try harissa include the city of Gyumri and the village of Sasunik.


  • Is harissa spicy?

No, harissa is not spicy. It is a mild and hearty dish.

  • Can I make harissa without meat?

Yes, you can make a vegetarian version of harissa by using vegetable broth instead of meat broth.

  • Is harissa gluten-free?

No, harissa is not gluten-free as it contains wheat.

  • How long does it take to cook harissa?

It takes several hours to cook harissa, depending on the cooking method.

  • Can I freeze leftover harissa?

Yes, you can freeze leftover harissa for up to three months.


In conclusion, harissa is more than just a dish in Armenia, it is a cultural symbol that represents the country’s rich history and traditions. The hearty porridge made from wheat and meat is a testament to Armenia’s resilience and survival through difficult times. Harissa’s popularity has spread beyond Armenia, and it has become a beloved dish among food enthusiasts around the world. If you’re ever in Armenia, don’t miss the chance to try this delicious national dish.


  • “Armenian Food and Cuisine” by Megan Hill, Eater, August 10, 2017.
  • “The History of Harissa: Armenia’s Beloved Porridge” by Liana Aghajanian, Atlas Obscura, February 6, 2019.
  • “Armenia’s Harissa – Recipe and History” by Sonja Begemann, Little Sunny Kitchen, March 11, 2021.

Leave a Comment