Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Moroccon Cuisine

Essaouira- Sea Coast Town of Morocco:

Harissa- Versatile!
Blend Red Chillies with or without Seeds
then add Cumin Seeds till smooth
Add Vinegar & Olive Oil, Lemon Juice & Blend till Smooth
Store in an Airtight Jar

Tastes best with Grilled Sardines & Fresh Moroccan Salad

Fes- the Imperial City:

Riyatzada Restaurant run by Madam Bahiya

Mix Fresh Coriander Paste with Cumin Powder Turmeric Pepper Salt Preserved Lemon Sliced Vegetable Oil Water well & Stuff inside the Whole Chicken (including under the Breast) & Rub the Outside as well
Layer in a Casserole Dish with Red Onion Chopped on top with Remaining Spice Mix
Cooked for an Hour on Stove
When done, Roast the Chicken coated with Butter for about 20 Minutes

Everyone takes their Sweet Pastries, Biscuits & Breads to the Local Baker following the Age-Old Tradition

Zohra Restaurant:

Boil Carrots in Salted Water & Slice into Bite sized pieces
Add White Vinegar Salt, Ground Dried Red Chilli, Paprika, Ground Cumin Sugar Lemon Juice Fresh Coriander

Harrira Soup:
Served to break Daily Fast during Ramadan

Heat Oil, Garlic Paste Celery Carrot Onion Chopped Saute till Lightly Brown
Add Ginger Paste, Tomatoes, infused Saffron, Cumin, Boiled Lentils, Boiled Chick Peas sealed Chicken, Chicken Stock & Simmer for 15 Minutes
Add Rice & Simmer for 15 Minutes
Add Lemon Juice Salt & Pepper & just before Serving add Fresh Coriander

Imlil- Harsh Atlas Mountainous Region:

Meal includes Meat Tagine, Couscous & Fresh Bread

Tagine Omelet: 
In a Pan, Heat Olive Oil Red Onion Chopped for about 2-3 Minutes
Add Cumin Paprika Turmeric till Cooked for about 5 Minutes
Add Tomatoes Chopped & Coriander Leaves til it reduces
In a Tagine, Add this Spice Mix with the Beaten Eggs
Cover & Simmer till done

Marrakech- Old world Charm mixed with Modern City:
Restaurant is Famous for their Savoury Pigeon Pie (Bastilla)

Fig & Apple Bastilla:
On an Entree Bowl, Layer 2 Filo Pastries, add the Apple Mix evenly, then a layer of Sliced Dried Figs, Brush with Water on the Edges
Layer another Filo, Apple & Figs & repeat the process till 6 Layers
Trim off the extra Edges round the Bowl
Fold the Excess Filo towards inside of the Bowl
Turn the Pie over onto a Greased Baking Sheet, Egg Wash the Top & Bake in a Preheated Oven till Golden Brown
Garnish with Chopped Praline, Dusted with Icing Sugar served with Vanilla Ice Cream

As a part of the welcome tradition, Orange Blossom Water is rubbed on the Guests hands!

The famous terracotta pot with a conical lid is essential. It is synonymous with Moroccan cooking and chefs say anything cooked in a tajine tastes absolutely amazing!  The secret is that food is gently cooked in terracotta and that the steam circulates to cook it perfectly.

A deep, metal 2 part cooking pot. Top of the range couscousieres come in copper. The bottom is where the meat or vegetables are cooked.  And the top section, which fits snugly over the base and forms a “waist” is where the couscous is steamed, with the fragrant steam rising to make the couscous fluffy and light.  You can substitute a metal steaming basket that fits over a large saucepan.


Couscous is known as a gift from Allah and is a staple of North African countries. When prepared traditionally, fine semolina is rubbed with super fine semolina to coat until it resembles a grain. When steamed it becomes light and fluffy


Saffron is the stigma of the crocus flower and also the world's most expensive spice. It is used both for its distinct flavour and colour. Too much can be overpowering.

Cinnamon or Cassia Bark is harvested from the bark of the tree with Cinnamon being much finer than Cassia

Cumin is available both as Seeds and Ground, it has a slight Liquorice flavour and is an essential spice in Curry blends. also used in Marinades and Salads

Sweet Paprika is made from sweeter, milder varieties of Capsicum, it has a good depth of flavour and also adds a vibrant colour

Orange Blossom Water is a distilled water with the flavour of orange derived from the essential oil found in the blossom, used in sweet and savoury dishes. It is also splashed onto the palms of guests when greeting them into the home

Preserved lemons

Preserved lemons are lemons which have been preserved in salt and either brine or oil. Kept away from light for at least 40 days,  their flavour changes from acidic to mellow and sweet. Used as an ingredient, in marinades and as a garnish.


Harissa is a paste made from chillies, garlic and oil and often flavoured with ground coriander and cumin. Served as an accompaniment with many meals.

A basic Baharat Spice Mix has Green Cardamon, Coriander Seeds, Cassia Bark, Black Peppercorn & Cumin Seeds
Another integral part of the Cuisine is Pomegranate Molasses

Moroccon Mezze 

Orange Blossom Zabaione:
Beat Egg Yolks Sugar in Copper Bowl Add Orange Blossom Water
Add Fruit Salad & Serve Fresh

Marinated Lamb (Mechoui)
Lamb Backstrap
Cumin Paprika Salt Black Pepper Garlic 2 Tbsp Coriander Parsley Lemon Juice Olive Oil mix with hands
place each strip on the Grill & brush with Oil as needed 
Serve fresh with Mint Sprigs!

North Morocco Specialty:
Bissara Dip:
Heat Olive Oil Garlic Paste add Split Baby Fava Beans 2 Cups & 6 Cups Water & boil till the Lentil is done
When it thickens, add Salt White Pepper in to the Thick Soup
Garnish with Cumin Paprika Black Olive in the centre & Drizzle Olive Oil
Serve with Pita Chips!!

Carrot and Orange Salad
Cheat's Couscous with Seven Vegetables
Chicken Fajine with Preserved Lemon and Olives

Fruit Salad with Moroccan Dressing:
Boil Water with Cinnamon Orange Blossom Water Sugar for about 10 Minutes & let it cool
Pour on the Fresh Cut Fruits & Serve Fresh!

Minted Yoghurt

Moroccan Mint Tea:
Better replacement for Coffee, the Tea Ceremony is one of the hospitality features, Silverware is used for the entire process
Rolled Green Tea/Gunpowder Tea/Pearl Tea
1st layer of Tea is bitter so thrown away
Bunch of Mint & Sugar is put in the Pot & then Boiling Water put all the way to the top
pour a couple of glasses with out stirring & Serve from a distance

Preparing a new Tajine Pot:

To prepare a new Tajine before cooking; soak both the Pot & the Lid overnight in water (so that they are completely immersed in water)
Then fill the Pot with water, add same salt and a few Bay leaves and a few Cardamom pods
Heat over a Low gas Flame, until boiling to infuse the herbs into the porous terracotta

(If the Tajine is used regularly this won't need to be redone
Tajines can be used on the Barbecue, Charcoal or Low gas Flame but are not recommended for electric cook tops or in the oven)

Using a Tajine:

Layer celery stalks on base of tajine before filling with meats etc. This acts as a trivet, lifting the meat off the base of the dish and prevents burning.
Harissa Paste

Cover harissa paste with a layer of olive oil to preserve

Toasting spices

Toasting whole spices in a dry pan can help to bring out the essential oils and the flavour in the spice, however be careful to taste as you add the spice to your dish as the flavour will have changed and you may need less. Toasting pre-ground spices is a little trickier and it can ruin the flavour of the spice altogether.
Every meal ends with Sweets especially during Ramadan
Fast ends each day with a Date Special Biscuit called Chabakiya (Rose water scented rolled deep fried sweet sprinkled with Sesame Seeds)

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