Nikki Duffy is deputy editor of Waitrose Food Illustrated Says
Wonderfully exotic-sounding and with a gorgeous, sweet-hot flavour, kirmizi biber is a form of dried red chilli. It's a Turkish ingredient (translated, it means "red pepper") and its flavour will remind you of Middle Eastern-style salads, kebabs or kofte since those are the kinds of dishes it appears in.
Why use this and not some other type of dried chilli? For me, the flavour has a special appeal. The chillies are salted and dried before being flaked and then rubbed with oil. This seems to give them a unique, smoky sweetness. A little pot of kirmizi biber flakes is an incredibly convenient thing to have in the kitchen. You don't have to do anything to them, just add straight to frying onions as the base for anything from tomato sauce to pasta with broccoli. Alternatively, warm a pinch in oil (it will turn it a beautiful orange colour) and pour the spicy mixture over fried scallops, wilted greens or, hell, just toast. Sprinkle into salads with delicate or salty ingredients, such as hard-boiled eggs or halloumi, or strew on a dish of hummus, baba ganoush or any other garlicky dip. I like the flavour so much, and the heat is just the right side of fiery, I've even been known to nibble a pinch straight from the jar.
You can order kirmizi biber from chileseeds.co.uk - the unroasted one is particularly sweet and delicious.