Made from a blend of chilli, herbs and spices (and even flowers), harissa is widely used in North Africa and Middle Eastern food. What goes in the mix varies by region but the mainstays are chilli, garlic, olive oil and salt with other additions including cumin, coriander, caraway, saffron, roasted red peppers and rose petals.
With its go-big-or-go-home flavours, simply adding harissa to some olive oil makes a moreish (or should that be Moorish?) dip, especially for scrummy homemade flatbreads. Or stir a spoonful into hummus and tomato based dips to give them a spicy kick.
Talking of spicy kicks, harissa mayo is a taste revelation. Just add a couple of teaspoons to a big dollop of mayo with a good squeeze of lemon, mix and serve it with anything from squid to sausages at your next gathering.
This lemon harissa chicken is a masterclass in marinating, while this recipe for harissa sweet potato wedges recommends leaving the spice-coated spuds in the fridge for an hour to really let those flavours loose.
Spice up midweek
This magic paste can also transform soups from bland to blimey-that’s-good, like in this recipe for red lentil and harissa soup. Or make a warming stew even warmer with a spoonful of harissa. Try this tomato and harissa stew – the cheddar dumplings temper the heat perfectly.
Feeding the masses doesn’t have to be difficult – do it in style with just five ingredients with this delectable harissa chicken traybake. Or impress with this colour explosion of a recipe – blackberry harissa pork tenderloin. Tip: for a smooth sauce, whizz up the ingredients with a chopper.
Wow fish lovers with a harissa showstopper that’s surprisingly simple. For this pan fried sea bass recipe all you need is a wide frying pan, fresh fish fillets and a few extra ingredients to create something sublime.
Hurray for harissa! Now go and get some.