by Nargisse Benkabbou

You can make harissa fairly mild or as hot as you like, depending on the type of chillies you choose – and how many. Serve it on the side, to add to soups, stews and tagines, or use as an ingredient in cooking. Suitable for vegans.

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Buyer's guide

Harissa can be bought ready-made in jars, or you can blend red chillies to create your own hot sauce, making it as deadly or as delicate as you want it to be.

Storage

Harissa paste will keep in the fridge for a couple of months if you cover the surface with a layer of oil. The flavour gets better over time.

Preparation

Fish and seafood have a natural affinity with harissa: stir the paste into seafood stews, spread it over salmon fillets and grill until crisp, or swirl a generous spoonful through yoghurt to make a spicy marinade. Treat harissa as an alternative to chilli paste in stir fries, soups and grilled dishes, or serve it as a dip to accompany cooked meats.