Spices and herbs used in Moroccan cooking:
- Safran: crush with a pinch of salt, or else grill in a frying-pan and add a pinch of salt.
- Ras el hanout: ½ spoonful in tagines containing fruit
- Cumin: eggs, salads, brochettes and meat
- Parsley and Coriander
- Celery : in Harira, a soup also containing chick peas, lentils, vermicelli, tomatoes, onions, cubes of meat.
- Rosemary not used in cooking, but dried and burnt is good for a cold.
Vegetables used in Moroccan cooking:
Carrots, panais, turnips, quince, white cabbage, aubergines, peppers, marrow, cooked chick peas
Tagine pot: before first use (or if you have not used it for a while), leave overnight in cold water. Cook on gas with a heat diffuser. Never place a hot tagine pot on a cold surface, prefer a raffia-type mat, or else cork or wood. Clean with washing-up liquid or vinegar but never use anything abrasive.
Pulp of ½ preserved lemon
1 clove garlic
Fresh coriander and parsley
1 teasp. turmeric
½ teasp. each black pepper and ginger
2 tbsp cold water
2 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
1 pinch safran
Cut chicken in pieces, marinate in this mixture, if possible the day before.
Add ½ red onion, finely chopped, and clarified butter.
On medium heat, sear chicken for 15 min., turning pieces every 5 minutes.
Push chicken to one side. Fill the base with water. If the lid has no hole, place it slightly at a tilt. Cook for one hour. Add skin of preserved lemons cut into la main de Fatima (4-5 fingers) and green olives and cook a little more.
Cooking is all about improvisation so for today's tagine, as I had no olives, I used rather more lemon and I also added some of my brother's fresh carrots and courgettes which were on their way to market.
Equal numbers of green peppers and tomatoes.
Roast green peppers, grilling over gas flame until charred. Place in plastic bag to sweat. Leave at least 10 min. then peel using the back of a knife blade and run under tap, then deseed and cut into strips or dice.
Skin tomatoes by cutting off the top then peel with a sharp knife as for an apple. If the strip is long enough it can be rolled up in the shape of a rosebud to serve as decoration. Deseed the tomatoes and dice them. In a pan: tomatoes + (for each tomato) 1 garlic clove, ½ teasp. salt, ½ black pepper, 1 teasp. cumin, 1 teasp. paprika, 1 tbsp. olive oil. Cook slowly, mashing the tomatoes into a paste. Then add sliced peppers. Chili pepper is optional.
1-2 kg onions
1 large tbsp. powdered cinnamon
Cook slowly for one hour.
Add 100-200 gr sugar and leave to cook for 15 min. stirring.
Add raisins (soaked since the previous day), leave for 10 min.
Whole lemons, sterilise pot. 1 volume coarse salt, + 2 vols. water + 1 teasp. olive oil. Seal jar for one month. Every other day, shake the jar. Will keep for another month.
400gr lamb (shoulder with bone, cut into large pieces)
Place meat in the couscoussier, with 1 chopped red onion, 1 teasp. each of salt, black pepper, ginger, turmeric, + 2 tbsp. olive oil. 2 grated tomatoes (cut in 2 and grate).
On medium heat 15 min. Add chili pepper or cayenne.
2 litres cold water + fresh parsley and coriander.
Boil 15 min.
Peel and cut into halves: carottes, turnips, panais + 2 pieces of white cabbage. Add to the meat. Medium heat.
Couscous grain: 200 gr medium grain
Spread on a dish. + 1 teasp. salt + 2 tbsp. sunflower oil. Mix. Sprinkle 50 ml water. With the other hand, aerate the grain. Leave to rest for 5 min. then rub in 2 hands for 2 min. Place in top of couscoussier. 25 min. on medium heat.
Then place the couscous grain in a dish. 1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp butter (clarified, if possible). Sprinkle 50 ml water. Aerate. Leave to rest.
Vegetables: courgettes, aubergines cut in 4, 2 pieces of marrow with skin, 50 gr cooked chick peas.. Add to couscoussier.
Couscous grain: place in couscoussier. Leave to cook 15 min.
½ teasp. each of salt, black pepper, ginger, turmeric, cumin, paprika, +
pinch of safran + olive oil.
Leave meat in marinade. Chop ½ red onion, and sear meat for ½ hour. Then add water. Simmer for ½ hour. Add veg.: carrots, turnip, potatoes, courgettes, peas, French beans. Slice 1 tomato on top. Chopped parsley and coriander. Mix marinade with 2 tbsp. water and sprinkle on top. Cook for 35 min.
For a 20cm tagine, mix together: 3-4 tablesp. olive oil,
4 tablesp. water, 1 teasp. each of cumin, coriander and paprika, ¼ teasp. each of salt and pepper, chopped parsley and coriander (if you have it). Spoon some of this mixture into the tagine and add a chopped onion and some chopped leak. When the onion is slightly cooked, add other vegetables, (together with more of the spice mixture) : carrots, potatoes, turnips, fennel, tomato, peppers, courgettes, green beans or broad beans, according to season. Prepare these vegetables in long strips so as to arrange them in a pyramid fashion in the tagine. Cook for about an hour, lowering the heat after a while. Check regularly to make sure you can see liquid at the bottom of the tagine. Add a little water when necessary.
As a variation, you can start with oil, Nepalese Chana Masala, onions and leaks. Then continue as above.
Below is a delicious lamb tagine with caramelised onions served at the Riad Omar in Marrakesh.