The Book Blog and ETC. takes you to Morocco

Posted on November 8, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Pack your bags because today’s culinary adventure is taking you to….


Morocco is one of the most diverse countries in Africa, with high mountains, sweeping desert, rugged coastline, and the winding alleyways of ancient medina cities and souqs.

It’s no wonder it is definitely one of the hottest vacation spots and today we are going to teach you how to prepare the top  things you must try in Morocco.


First I am going to start you off with Morocco’s national drink…Tea…Mint Tea to be exact.

Mint tea is the national drink, often jokingly referred to as Berber whiskey. A sign of hospitality, preparing it is an art form: green tea is flavored with sprigs of fresh mint and normally served with lots of sugar. In winter, when mint is scarce, bitter wormwood – also known as absinthe or sheba – is used. It’s usually poured from metal teapots into glasses from a great height, and the resulting bubbles are meant to make it more appealing.


• Start by adding the loose gunpowder green tea into your Moroccan tea pot…about 4-6 teaspoons

• 1 large handful fresh mint leaves (spearmint or peppermint) if you can’t find Moroccan mint

• 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sugar


• If you don’t have a Moroccan tea pot, a different type of teapot will do. Just make sure it can be used on the stovetop. Meanwhile, separately boil about 5 cups of plain water


• Once the water comes to a boil, pour one cup of water into your Moroccan teapot. Rinse and discard, this is how we clean the pot


• Add 1 teaspoon of loose tea into the teapot for every 6 oz (177ml) of hot water.


• Let the tea steep for about 60 seconds and Swirl the pot to wash and rinse the tea pellets and pour out the water. Discard the water.


• Add mint leaves and sugar to the pot


• Fill the pot with 1/2 a liter (about 2-3 cups) of boiling water.


• Leave the tea to steep for five minutes or longer.


• Pour in a heat proof glass or tea cup, garnish with a little mint and Enjoy!

And of Course…. you can't come to my kitchen and not have a cocktail...A Moroccan Mint Tea Cocktail 

Serves: 1



4 whole mint leaves, plus extra for garnish

4 oz sweetened ice tea

2 oz vodka

splash lime juice




Combine ice and mint leaves in a cocktail shaker, then shake a few times to bruise the leaves. Add remaining ingredients and shake well. Pour into chilled glass and garnish with mint sprigs or a lime wedge.



Tagines, named after the conical clay cooking pot they’re cooked in, are on every Moroccan menu, from roadside cafés to palatial dining rooms. It’s a stew of tender meat and vegetables in a blend of spices, sometimes with the addition of olives and preserved fruit, and is always served with bread. Today we have a vegetarian and a slow cook chicken tagine.



• 3 tablespoon olive oil

• 1 small onion, diced

• 1 tablespoon garlic, minced

• 1 tablespoon ginger, grated

• 2 teaspoons ground turmeric

• 2 teaspoons ground cumin

• 2 teaspoons ground coriander

• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1 cup vegetable broth

• 2 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained

• 1 tablespoon harissa (or other red chile paste)

• 1½ tablespoons honey

• ½ cup dried apricots, chopped

• ½ cup raisins

• ½ cup slivered almonds

• ½ of a preserved lemon or 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (not remotely the same thing, but you can use it in a pinch)

• 7 cups (or sweet potatoes or pumpkin), peeled, seeded and cut into bite sized pieces

• Salt to taste

• Extra slivered almonds for garnishing


1. Heat the oil in a large Tangine or Dutch oven. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the turmeric, coriander, cumin, and cinnamon, stir to combine.

2. Add the vegetable broth, chickpeas, harissa, honey, raisins, almonds, and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Add the sweet potatoes or pumpkin, stir to combine, return to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for another 25 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes or pumpkin is fork-tender.

~Chicken Tagine with Couscous~

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Cook Time: 5 Hours Ready In: 5 Hours 30 Minutes

Servings: 8


2 tablespoons olive oil

8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut

into 1-inch pieces

1 eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes

2 large onions, thinly sliced

4 large carrots, thinly sliced

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

2 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons tomato paste 2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons garlic salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup water

1 cup couscous

1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place the chicken pieces and eggplant in the heated oil; stir and cook until the chicken is browned on all sides but not cooked through. Remove the skillet from the heat.

2. Place the browned chicken and eggplant on the bottom of a slow cooker. Layer the onion, carrots, dried cranberries, and apricots over the chicken.

3. Whisk together the chicken broth, tomato paste, lemon juice, flour, garlic salt, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, and ground black pepper in a bowl. Pour the broth mixture into the slow cooker with the chicken and vegetables.

4. Cook on High setting for 5 hours, or on Low setting for 8 hours.

5. Bring water to boil in a saucepan. Stir in couscous, and remove from heat. Cover, and let stand about 5 minutes, until liquid has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork.


~Traditional COUSCOUS~

This classic couscous is loaded with slow-cooked lamb and poached

vegetables, and spiced with generous amounts of cumin….And it’s a labor of love….this is not the 10 minute couscous you are use to.


For the lamb broth:

• 1/2 cup olive oil, plus 3 Tbs. for sautéing

• 2 large onions, thinly sliced

• Large pinch saffron (about 30 threads or 1/2 tsp., lightly packed)


an orange-yellow flavoring, food coloring, and dye made from the dried stigmas of a crocus.

an autumn-flowering crocus with reddish-purple flowers, native to warmer regions of Eurasia. Enormous numbers of flowers are required to produce a small quantity of the large red stigmas used for the spice.


• 1 Tbs. ground ginger

• 1 stick cinnamon

• 1 Tbs. ground coriander

• 1 Tbs. paprika

• 2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper; more for the shanks

• 2 tsp. kosher salt ; more for the shanks

• 6 medium cloves garlic, crushed and coarsely chopped

• 3 lb. lamb shanks (2 or 3 shanks)

• 2 tomatoes, cut in large dice

• 2 small turnips (or 2 parsnips), peeled and cut in large dice

• 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut in 1-inch pieces

• 1 bay leaf

• 10 sprigs each of fresh cilantro and flat-leaf parsley, tied with kitchen twine

For the harissa:



a hot sauce or paste used in North African cuisine, made from chili peppers, paprika, and olive oil.

• 2 roasted (or grilled) red bell peppers, skinned, stemmed, and seeded

• 5 dried red chiles, soaked in hot water for 20 min., drained, stemmed, and seeded (reserve the seeds)

• 2 cloves garlic

• 2 tsp. ground cumin

• 1/2 tsp. ground coriander

• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the couscous and seasoned water:

• 2 cups flour mixed with 2 cups water, to seal the pot

• 1-1/2 lb. (4 cups) couscous

• 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

• Large pinch saffron (about 30 threads), crushed or pulverized

• 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric

• 1 tsp. ground cumin

• 2 tsp. kosher salt

• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• One 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained

• 1/2 cup golden raisins

• 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon; more as needed

• 2 Tbs. unsalted butter

For the caramelized onions:

• 3 Tbs. olive oil

• 2 large onions, thinly sliced

• 2 tsp. ground cinnamon

• 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• Kosher salt to taste (about 1 tsp.)

• 2 Tbs. granulated sugar

• 1 cup golden raisins

For the vegetables:

• 8 baby carrots, peeled (or 2 small carrots, peeled and cut in 1-inch pieces)

• 1 large sweet potato (8 oz.), peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks

• 1 lb. winter squash, peeled, seeded, and cut in 1-inch chunks

• 1/4 medium white cabbage, cut into 1-inch pieces (4 cups)

• 6 baby eggplant (or 1/2 medium globe eggplant), cut in 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)

• 4 small zucchini (12 oz. total), halved lengthwise and cut in 1-inch pieces

Make a savory lamb broth:

In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the olive oil with the onions, spices, salt, and garlic; mix well.

Heat the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Season the shanks with salt and pepper and brown them on all sides (in batches, if necessary). Reduce the heat to medium and add the seasoned onion mixture, stirring occasionally, until the spices release their flavors and aromas, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, turnips, and red pepper, stir to coat, and cook until the tomatoes are soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the bay leaf and tied herbs and then add water to cover by 1 inch (10 to 12 cups). Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lamb pulls off the bone easily, 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours. Transfer the lamb to a platter and cover with foil. Continue simmering the broth until it’s full-flavored and reduced to about 8 cups. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary. Discard the tied herbs, bay leaf, and cinnamon stick. Spoon off the fat that collects on the surface.

Make the harissa:

Coarsely chop the roasted peppers and put them in a blender. Add the chiles (but not the seeds), garlic, cumin, coriander, and salt. With the blender running, pour in the olive oil in a stream until the mixture becomes smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer the harissa to a bowl and stir in the chile seeds.

Prepare to steam the couscous:

In a medium bowl, mix the flour and water to make a thin paste; set aside. Cut a three-inch-wide strip of cheesecloth long enough to wrap twice around the rim of your couscoussière (a colander that rests snugly over a stockpot can stand in for a couscoussière).

Put the couscous in a very large bowl or a roasting pan. Cover the grains with cold water, swishing to remove the starch. Drain immediately. Let the couscous rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the seasoned water by mixing the oil, saffron, turmeric, cumin, salt, pepper, and 3 cups of water. Fill the stockpot (or the couscoussière) with 2 inches of plain water (which shouldn’t touch the bottom of the colander); bring to a boil.

As the plain water is heating up, scoop up some of the couscous with your hands and rub the grains together lightly to separate them and break up any lumps. The couscous will feel dry. Sprinkle on a bit of the seasoned water and continue to separate and fluff the couscous with your hands, letting the grains rub against one another and dribble back into the bowl. Sprinkle on a bit more of the liquid and continue rubbing so the couscous starts to feel moist but not wet (no liquid should accumulate in the bowl); you’ll use about 1/2 cup of the liquid.

Steam and fluff the couscous:

Set the colander over the simmering water. Sprinkle the couscous into the colander (or thecouscoussière steamer) without pressing on the grains.

Wet the long strip of cheesecloth, then dip it in the flour-water paste. Wrap the soaked cheesecloth twice around the gap between the colander and the stockpot to seal. Cook until steam appears through the entire surface of the couscous, 10 to 20 minutes.

While the couscous is steaming, heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium high. Add the sliced onions, cinnamon, pepper, salt, sugar, and raisins. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes; set aside.

Reduce the heat on the couscoussière to very low. Carefully unwrap the hot cheesecloth strip. Dump the couscous into the large bowl; break up clumps with a spoon. When the couscous is cool enough to handle, fluff again as described above, moistening it gradually with about 1 cup of the liquid. Repeat the steaming and fluffing a second time.

As the couscous steams for the second time, bring the lamb broth back to a boil and add the carrots, sweet potato, and squash. Simmer for 10 minutes and then add the cabbage and eggplant. Simmer the vegetables for another 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pull the lamb meat off the shanks, discarding the fat and bones. Cut the lamb into bite-size pieces. Add the zucchini to the broth and simmer until all the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes more. Return the lamb to the broth to moisten and reheat it. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.

To finish the dish:

After fluffing the couscous a second time, return it to the couscoussière and steam for a third and final time. Dump the couscous into the large bowl or pan and break up clumps with a spoon. Stir in the chickpeas, raisins, cinnamon, and butter. When the couscous is cool enough to touch, moisten and season the grains with about 1 cup of the lamb broth, using the same rubbing technique as before.

Heap the couscous on a platter. Clear a hole in the center by pushing the grains toward the perimeter. With a slotted spoon, arrange the lamb and vegetables in the center, leaving some of them in the broth. Serve with the harissa, the caramelized onions, and individual bowls of broth, which people can sprinkle on their couscous to their taste.


This traditional Berber soup is rich and flavorsome and while it’s often served as a starter, it’s filling enough to be a meal in itself. The recipe varies from region to region but the basic stock includes flour, chickpeas, tomatoes, lentils, spices and a small amount of lamb or chicken, finished off with a squeeze of lemon juice and turmeric. During Ramadan it’s served at dusk to break the fast, often with the sweet and sticky pretzel-like chebakkiya.


• ½ lb. uncooked meat (lamb, beef or chicken), chopped into 1/2” pieces

• 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

• 1 bunch cilantro (coriander), finely chopped to yield about 1/4 cup

• 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped to yield about 1/4 cup

• 1 or 2 celery stalks with leaves, finely chopped

• 1 large onion, grated

• 1 handful of dry chick peas, soaked and then peeled

• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1 tablespoon ground ginger

• 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper

• 1 tablespoon kosher salt

• 1/2 teaspoon turmeric or ¼ teaspoon yellow colorant

• 6 large tomatoes (about 2 lb. or 1 kg), peeled, seeded and pureed

• 2 to 3 tbsp dry lentils, picked over and washed

• 3 tablespoons tomato paste, mixed evenly into 1 or 2 cups of water

• 2 to 3 tablespoons uncooked rice OR uncooked broken vermicelli

• 1 cup flour

Put the meat, soup bones and oil into a 6-qt. or larger pressure cooker. Over medium heat, cook the meat for a few minutes, stirring to brown all sides.

 Make the Stock

Add the cilantro, parsley, celery, onion, chick peas, tomatoes, smen and spices. Stir in 3 cups of water.

Cover tightly, and heat over high heat until pressure is achieved. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and release the pressure.

Make the Soup

Add the lentils, tomato paste mixture, and 2 quarts (or about 2 liters) of water to the stock.

Set aside (but don’t add yet), either the rice or vermicelli.

Cover the pot and heat the soup over high heat until pressure is achieved. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking.

If adding rice: Cook the soup on pressure for 30 minutes. Release the pressure, and add the rice. Cover, and cook with pressure for an additional 15 minutes.

If adding vermicelli: Cook the soup on pressure for 45 minutes. Release the pressure, and add the vermicelli. Simmer the soup, uncovered, for five to ten minutes or until the vermicelli is plump and cooked.


Thicken the Soup

While the soup is cooking, make a tedouira(soup thickener) by mixing together the 1 cup of flour with 2 cups of water. Set the mixture aside, and stir or whisk it

~Slow-Cooker Moroccan Lentil Soup~

Like most soups, this Moroccan lentil soup recipe gets better with time as the complex seasonings have time to develop. Make it a day ahead if you can—this easy slow cooker/crock pot recipe variation makes it a cinch to get the soup cooking while you do other things.

12 servings, about 1 1/4 cups each | Active Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 4 1/2-5 1/2 hours on High or 8 1/2 to 10 1/2 hours on Low


• 2 cups chopped onions

• 2 cups chopped carrots

• 4 cloves garlic, minced

• 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 teaspoon ground cumin

• 1 teaspoon ground coriander

• 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

• 6 cups vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth

• 2 cups water

• 3 cups chopped cauliflower

• 1 3/4 cups lentils

• 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

• 2 tablespoons tomato paste

• 4 cups chopped fresh spinach or one 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed

• 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

• 2 tablespoons lemon juice


1. Combine onions, carrots, garlic, oil, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon and pepper in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add broth, water, cauliflower, lentils, tomatoes and tomato paste and stir until well combined.

2. Cover and cook until the lentils are tender, 4 to 5 hours on High or 8 to 10 hours on Low.

3. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, stir in spinach. Just before serving, stir in cilantro and lemon juice.

Tips & Notes

• Make Ahead Tip: Stir in spinach (Step 3), cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months. Stir in cilantro and lemon juice just before serving. Equipment: 5- to 6-quart slow cooker


~QUICK Moroccan meatballs~

 1 tbsp olive oil

350g pack ready-made

Beef or chicken

Meatballs (approx 16)

1 large onion, sliced

1 cup dried apricots, Halved

1 small cinnamon stick

Tomatoes with garlic

1/2 cup toasted flaked Almonds

Handful coriander, roughly chopped


1. Heat the oil in a large deep frying pan, then fry the meatballs

For 10 mins, turning occasionally until cooked through. Scoop out of

The pan and set aside, then cook the onion for 5 mins, until softened.


2. Add the dried apricots, cinnamon stick, tomatoes and half

A can of water to the pan, then bring to the boil and simmer for 10

minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick. Return the meatballs to the pan

and coat well with the tomato sauce. Serve sprinkled with the

almonds and coriander




~Zaalouk ~

Moroccan meals often begin with a vegetarian-friendly spread of colorful small salads, raw and cooked, hot and cold, and perfect for sharing.

 This a delicious cooked salad made with eggplant (aubergines), tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and spices. It's a common side dish to many meals, and is usually served as a dip with crusty bread.


• 1 large eggplant, peeled, sliced and roasted

• 4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

• 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pressed

• 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro and parsley, mixed

• 1 tablespoon paprika

• 1 tablespoon cumin

• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

• 1/4 cup olive oil

• 1/3 cup water

• small wedge of lemon (optional)


Mix all ingredients in a large, deep skillet or pot. Cover and simmer over medium to medium-high heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust the heat if necessary


Use a spoon or potato masher to crush and blend the tomatoes and eggplant. If you like, a small wedge of lemon can be added to the pan at this time. Continue simmering, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the liquids are reduced and the zaalouk can be stirred into a heap in the center of the pan.

Serve warm or cold with crusty bread.


~Dates stuffed with honeyed almonds~

20 dates

20 almonds

2 tsp honey


1. In a small pan add the almonds and warm over a gentle heat until starting to color, take off the heat add the honey, letting it bubble in the pan, return to a gentle heat and bring back to bubbling until beginning to caramelize: be careful not to burn the almonds or the honey.


2. While they are still hot, tip the almonds onto a piece of baking parchment and separate them carefully (they will be very hot, but will set into a single lump if you don't separate them). Allow to cool and go very sticky.


3. Split the dates lengthways and remove the stone. Add a sticky almond in the split of each date and lightly press the date together. Serve with mint tea or strong coffee.


~Honey Cinnamon Oranges~

2 oranges

 2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

 fresh mint leaves, torn ( for garnish)


1. Peel the oranges and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices.

2. Place on a serving platter.

3. Mix honey and cinnamon in a small bowl.

4. Drizzle the honey mixture over oranges and garnish with mint leaves.


Thank You to all the great chefs and cooks out there who inspires me everyday with their amazing recipes...and thank you to those who encourage me to make their recipes my own by being adventurous and adding a Nerisa twist :)

~xoxo Sincerely Yours, Nerisa :)






Categories: ***Caribbean Rhythm (RECIPES)***