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Go Moroccan: Refreshing and Delicious Recipes

If you never visited Morocco before, it might surprise you that it’s one of the most varied cultures in the world. As a crossroads of trade, the country has long been a center point for savory cuisine. Just like Morocco’s rich culture, their table is a fusion of European, Mediterranean, Sephardic and Berbers dishes.

Kitty Morse, an award-winning chef and best-selling cookbook author, is ready to tantalize the ALO readers with some of her mouth-watering, easy-to-make summer recipes. Discover out how to make Shakshuka, a tomato dish from Kitty’s book, “Cooking at the Kasbah: Recipes from my Moroccan Kitchen.” Move on to grilled Kefta for BBQ Sundays and finish up with a watermelon refresher to complete the table.

Shakshuka

Shakshuka, Cooking at the Kasbah: Recipes from my Moroccan Kitchen by Kitty Morse (Chronicle Books)

Shakshuka is homey, comfort food for Tunisian, Moroccan and Egyptian cuisines. Here’s Kitty’s version that can double as a delectable vegetarian meal, or a side dish for the next recipe: Grilled Kefta. (P.S. This red tomato dish can be made with or without eggs.)

Serves 4
2 red bell peppers, roasted and peeled and seeded
2 yellow bell peppers, peeled and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium tomatoes, peeled and coarsely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika

Cut peppers into 1/2-inch strips. Set aside in a colander to drain.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add tomatoes, garlic, sugar, and tomato paste, if using. Cook, lightly pressing on the tomatoes until most of the liquid evaporates, 12 to 15 minutes. Add pepper strips. Cook, stirring occasionally until mixture thickens, 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve at room temperature.

Kefta
from Mint Tea and Minarets: A banquet of Moroccan memories by Kitty Morse. (La Caravane Publishing)

Kefta
(Ground Meat Brochettes)
Whether grilled or barbequed, Kefta is the most loved meat dish of the Mediterranean region. Enjoy it with the Harissa (North African hot sauce), with a side of tzatziki yogurt dip like the Greeks, or with hummus like the Lebanese!

 Makes about 10
½ pound beef sirloin
½ pound lamb
½ onion, grated
15 sprigs cilantro, minced
10 sprigs fresh parsley, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
Extra cumin, for dipping Harissa

Have the meat seller coarsely grind together beef and lamb. Combine meat with onion, cilantro, parsley, cumin, salt, pepper, and garlic. Pinch off a golf-ball size amount of this mixture and form into a spindle shape around a skewer. Proceed in this manner meat mixture.

Heat coals to the red hot stage, or preheat a broiler. Grill kefta 4 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. Serve with cumin and Harissa on the side.

Moroccan Watermelon and Strawberry Drink
from Cooking at the Kasbah: Recipes from my Moroccan Kitchen by Kitty Morse (Chronicle Books, 1999)

Moroccan Watermelon and Strawberry Drink
Last year we learned how to make the Persian Sekanjebeen drink (A sweet sharp mint and vinegar syrup.) This summer we’re all in for the Moroccan Watermelon refresher.
 
Serves 1
1 cup watermelon cubes
3 sliced strawberries
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Sugar to taste
A sprinkle of orange blossom water
Ice cubes
Mint leaf for garnish

Place watermelon, berries, water, lemon juice, and sugar in a blender and liquefy.

Strain through a medium mesh sieve; press the pulp with the back of a large spoon to extract all the juice.     

Transfer to a tall glass and add a sprinkling of orange blossom water.
Add ice cubes.
Garnish with a mint leaf.

Note: Orange blossom water is available in Middle Eastern markets, and sometimes, liquor stores.

 

 

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