Monday, 19 November 2012

A taste of Morocco

My recent jaunt to Morocco has inspired me to create a new, somewhat belated, entry to “ahungryman”. Those of you who have visited Morocco will know of its vibrant personality, influenced by the leisurely Mediterranean, bustling chaos of central Africa and the ardent Middle East; however unfortunately these personalities are not often reflected in the country’s cuisine. Most backpackers and travellers looking for the ‘Moroccan experience’ will succumb to cheap and cheerful “ ‘Meat’ tagine”, lamb/chicken kebab and couscous quaffed down with hot sweet mint tea. This breaks my heart. You need not venture far into the souks (markets) to find the spice shops and their veritable feast for all the senses. Most shop owners will be able to take you on a tour through the saffron scented plains, to smoky Saharan harissa, and back to the familiar kitchen essentials. My challenge today was to revamp the cuisine of Morocco without stripping it of it’s essential identity.
Beef kebabs with a fruity sauce and exciting couscous:
Beef kebabs:
Beef steak mince 500g
1 Tbsp chopped mint leaves
1 Tbsp chopped coriander leaves
1+1/2 tsp of Ras al Hanout
1 tsp chilli powder
1 chopped chilli
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 egg
Season generously with salt and pepper to taste
Garlic 1 clove chopped
1 heaped tsp Cinammon (ground)
1 tbsp harissa
1 tbsp chopped coriander
1 tsp cumin
Handful of fresh olives
1 tin chopped tomatoes
50g of dried apricots
handful of roasted almonds
Season accordingly
½ courgette chopped to 1cm pieces
½ yellow pepper chopped to 1cm pieces
1 tspn Cumin
½ Ginger
¼ All spice
¼ ground coriander
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ cayenne pepper
Handful of sultanas
¼ orange zest
Juice of 1 orange
1 tbsp of fresh chopped mint leaves.
Hot chicken stock to soften couscous
1) Mix together all the kebab mix with hands and leave for at least 2 hours (preferably 12).
2) Form into balls or sausages and seal in an oven proof pan on a high heat.
3) For the sauce: fry off garlic and spices
4) Add the tomatoes and coriander and a handful of chopped olives
5) Chop the apricots into strips and add to the sauce
6) Once the tomatoes are cooked, add to the pan with the kebabs and finish in the oven for 15-20mins.
7) Garnish the sauce with crushed almonds and chopped coriander.
For the couscous, add all the ingredients to the bowl and just before serving add the hot chicken stock.
9) Pretty simple no?
Rich-o-meter- “A solid 9/10.”