Travel writer Helen Ranger once said at a BBC Good Food program, "Sample the aromatic and spicy food of North Africa by taking a trip to Morocco, a vibrant country with strong traditions and a diverse landscape of bustling cities, mountain ranges and arid deserts.” She disclosed that that one of the great cuisines of the world was Moroccan cooking that abounds with subtle spices and intriguing flavour combinations.
Then she suggested, "Don’t leave Morocco without trying Zaalouk.”
There also are Taktouka and Chicken Tagine which should have been included and on the other side of the globe from the United Kingdom (UK) Zaalouk, Taktouka and Chicken Tagine are going to be introduced to some 150 selected Korean and international guests at the Namyangju Slow Life Plant (Food) Festival on the morning of Oct. 15, 2015.
Madam Amal Lahlou, spouse of the ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco, will personally present a demonstration to show how to prepare three of the 10 top cuisines of Morocco which were aired by the BBC of the UK.
Asked at a recent brief interview with The Korea Post what, if any, parallels there were between the Moroccan food and the Korean food, Mrs. Lahlou almost instantly named, “Bibimbap!” Then she said that Morocco also had its own version of Korean ‘Kimchi.’
Mrs. Lahlou is the doyenne of the Association of the Spouses of the Ambassadors in Seoul, a role that is given and performed by the spouse of the ambassador who is the most senior among all the ambassadors in Korea. When the senior ambassador is a single it goes to the spouse of the second most senior ambassador, who is the ambassador of Morocco in Korea today.
Who would want to read any more comments when there are the mouth-watering Zaalouk, Taktouka and Chicken Tagine waiting!? Here are the pictures and recipes based on which Mrs. Lahlou will present her demonstration at Namyangju:
Zaalouk is 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. Use fresh, ripe tomatoes for the best results. If you like, drizzle a little extra olive oil on the salad when serving. Variations: A small wedge of fresh lemon added to the salad while it's reducing adds a nice tangy nuance. A little chili oil heats it up for spicy food lovers. Some Moroccan cooks boil the eggplant first. I prefer the taste and texture of the methods below. Or, you can try Zaalouk with Roasted Peppers and Roasted Eggplant. Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish.
1 large eggplant, peeled and chopped
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
A small wedge of lemon (optional)
Moroccan cuisine includes some delicious cooked salads which are eaten as dips. This one, a zesty puree of tomatoes and green pepper, is known as taktouka in some parts of Morocco. A similar but saucier and spicier dish known as Shakshouka includes the addition of poached eggs.
No matter how much of this salad I make, I rarely have leftovers. Try it and you'll see why.
You'll need to roast and skin your green peppers before you use them in the recipe. If you've never done this, How to Roast and Skin Peppers will show you how.
Select very ripe tomatoes if possible as they will cook down to a puree much faster. My recipe calls for cooking the roasted pepper along with the tomatoes, which allows for everything to be mashed to a puree, but you might prefer to add the peppers after the tomatoes have cooked so that the pepper pieces remain intact and add texture.
Serve the Taktouka as a side, using pieces of khobz or other crusty bread to scoop up the salad like a dip.
6 ripe fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 or 3 large fresh green peppers (roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped)
3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pressed
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
A pinch of cayenne or red pepper (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
This easy Moroccan recipe explains how to make classic Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives in an authentic tagine. Marinating the chicken for a few hours or overnight is optional.
Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Olives recipes are also available for conventional stove top preparation and slow roasting method.
The cooking time allows for bringing the tagine slowly to a simmer. Large chickens may require additional time.
1 whole chicken, skin removed, cut into pieces
2 large white or yellow onions, very finely chopped
One small handful of fresh cilantro, chopped*
One small handful of fresh parsley, chopped*
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pressed
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric (or 1/4 teaspoon Moroccan yellow colorant)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled (optional)
1 teaspoon smen (Moroccan preserved butter - optional)
2 handfuls green or red olives, or mixed
1 or 2 preserved lemons, quartered and seeds removed
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water, approximately