Friday, June 11, 2010

Authentic Moroccan

I study Swedish at SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) every day and get to know people from all over the world. Since I am obsessed with global cuisine, one of my classmates Hayat was kind enough to demonstrate her recipe for Moroccan Couscous with Seven Vegetables for me.

I didn't realize how fortunate I was until I saw Hayat preparing everything with utmost care and precision. She cleaned and cut all the vegetables in same sizes and used her hands like my grandmother would, when she fluffed the couscous. The food she served to me yesterday was one with soul - she cooked it for 2 1/2 hours, used her hands generously to feel the food, and there's nothing like that.

Hayat taught me so much, my blood was boiling with excitement! How lucky to get to learn about a whole new world! She made me try her homemade pickle, which had lemon, carrots, cabbage and chilies - it was so delicious! She recommends books by Rashida Amhaouch to learn more about Moroccan cooking.

Moroccan Couscous with Seven Vegetables
Serves 4 - 6

1/2 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced in half moons
1/2 cup fresh cilantro with some stems, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
4 - 5 cups water
2 large carrots, cut in big slabs
1/4 cabbage, cut in slabs like carrots
1 red pepper, cut in slabs
1 yellow pepper, cut in slabs
2 large tomatoes, cut in similar slabs
1 can chickpeas (optional)
6 pieces of pumpkin, cut in similar slabs
1/4 cup tomato paste

2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp spicy paprika
1 1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 bay leaf
1 vegetable bouillon cube

Couscous or Quinoa!
4 cups couscous
1/4 cup corn oil
3 cups water

In a big pot, heat oil and onions and saute until golden. Then add coriander and parsley and 4 cups water. Add all the spices, bouillon and vegetables (except pumpkin and tomato paste) and allow it to gurgle on medium or medium-low heat for an hour, at least. You may need to add more water later, it depends on the consistency you want, but this is definitely a soupy dish. After an hour, when the carrots are tender, add the tomato paste and pumpkin (and chickpeas, if adding) and cook for 20 more minutes until everything is cooked.

After adding the tomato paste, start the couscous: Massage the couscous and oil together with your fingers, then add water. Steam the couscous over a pot of boiling water for 20 minutes. (Hayat brought her lovely steamer from Morocco). Alternately, you could follow the package directions for making quinoa or couscous.

Serve on a raised bed of couscous or quinoa, then arrange the different vegetables in a circle, and ladle the broth over everything.

Serves 6 - 8.

While waiting for the couscous to be made, she prepared Moroccan tea:

Moroccan tea
4 cups water
2 tbs green tea
1-2 tbs sugar
1/2 cup fresh mint

In boiling water, add tea, mint and sugar and boil for 2 - 4 minutes. Strain and serve. It's so delicious!

1 comment:

  1. Hi my friend. This blog is great! Thanks for sharing it with me. I just read through all your entries and I want to get cooking! :) Love, Laila



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