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Around the world in 80 dishes No. 46: Fish soup with harissa

Ingredients to serve 4

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, trimmed and sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Half a teaspoon of ground ginger
Half a tablespoon of harissa
Half a tablespoon of coriander seeds, crushed
3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
500ml fish stock or water
1kg fish, such as snapper, cod, sea bass, cut into chunks
8 king prawns, cleaned with tails on
250g squid, cleaned and sliced
Juice of 1 lemon

For the harissa

75g dried hot red chillies, deseeded
6 garlic cloves, peeled
3 tablespoons sea salt
Juice of half a lemon
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling


These days Harissa sauce is widely available in tins and jars, but it's still fun to make your own. There are lots of recipe variations. You can add different spices to the chilli- garlic mix or use fresh instead of dried chillies.

To make the Harissa, place the chillies in a bowl, cover with warm water and leave to soak for 1 hour. Drain and transfer into a food processor. Add the garlic and salt and blend to a rough paste. Add lemon juice and olive oil then transfer to a sterilised jar.

Alternatively, roughly chop the chillis then place in a mortar and pound into a rough paste with a pestle. Add the garlic and salt and continue pounding till you have a smooth paste. Stir in the lemon juice and olive oil and transfer into a jar. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top and seal with a lid. Refrigerate until ready to use, or keep indefinitely in a sealed jar in the refrigerator.

To make the soup, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the onion, celery and garlic and sauté until softened. Add the ginger, harissa, coriander seeds and parsley and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, then add the tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the fish stock or water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the fish, prawns and squid and cook for 15 minutes, or until all the seafood is cooked through. Just before serving, add lemon juice, then ladle into soup bowls and serve with bread on the side.

Taken from 'A Month in Marrakesh' by Andy Harris (Hardie Grant, £20)