Category: Moroccan

vegan Kaab al Ghazal / Cornes de Gazelle (Moro…

vegan Kaab al Ghazal / Cornes de Gazelle (Moroccan almond-paste-filled cookies)

recipe under the cut!

INGREDIENTS:

for the dough:

  • 2 cups (270g) all-purpose flour (measured by spooning flour gently into a measuring cup and levelling it off)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp melted vegan margarine
  • 2 tbsp orange blossom water

for the almond paste:

  • 1 ½ cup (225g) almonds
  • ½ cup (50g) sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange blossom water
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp melted vegan margarine

INSTRUCTIONS

for the dough:

1. add all ingredients for the dough into a large bowl. you should get a soft dough that just comes together without being sticky–add more water if necessary.

2. knead the dough for 10-20 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.

for the almond paste:

1. blanch the almonds by placing them in boiling water for about a minute, then gently pinching each one to remove its skin. dry thoroughly.

2. toast the almonds in a large pan over medium heat for a couple minutes until a shade darker.

3. grind almonds and remaining ingredients in a food processor or grinder until a smooth paste results.

to assemble the cookies:

1. take a portion of the dough (covering the dough that you’re not using so that it doesn’t dry out) and roll it out–it should be very thin but not translucent.

2. place about a tablespoon of almond paste on the dough in roughly the size and shape of a finger.

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3. fold the dough over the filling and press firmly to seal. form into a sharply curving crescent shape that is slightly narrower at the top than at the bottom. the direction from which you folded the dough should form the inside of the curve.

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4. use a pastry wheel to cut the cookie from the remaining dough. repeat until all of the dough has been used.

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5. place cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. prick a few holes in the top of each cookie with a fork or toothpick.

6. bake at 350F (175C) for 15-20 minutes, until a shade darker (be careful not to overcook them or they will be too tough–they shouldn’t be golden brown!)

the name of this cookie means “gazelle horns” or (in French) “gazelle ankles.” Kaab al Ghazal are commonly served with Moroccan mint tea. they may be dipped in orange blossom water and then covered in sugar, in which case they’re called Kaab al Ghazal M’fenned.

Moroccan orange semolina & almond cake, ve…

Moroccan orange semolina & almond cake, vegan

recipe under the cut!

INGREDIENTS:

for the cake:

  • 1 cup (160g) semolina flour
  • 1 cup (100g) almond flour
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • juice of ½ orange (about ¼ cup)
  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp (125g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp cardamom
  • pinch of salt
  • zest of 1 orange

for the syrup:

  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp honey or amber / dark agave nectar
  • ¼ cup (30g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp orange blossom water

INSTRUCTIONS:

for the cake:

1. preheat your oven to 355 F (180 C). add all dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

2. line an 8″ cake pan with parchment paper (you may need separate pieces for the bottom and for the sides), then grease the parchment paper with margarine.

3. mix wet ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. add into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. immediately bake for 40-45 minutes on the bottom rack of your oven, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

for the syrup:

1. combine orange juice, honey or agave nectar, and powdered sugar in a small pot. reduce over medium heat, whisking constantly, for about five minutes until the mixture begins to thicken.

2. remove from heat and stir in orange blossom water.

assembly:

1. allow the cake to cool completely before removing it from the pan and plating.

2. using a toothpick or something similar, prick holes all over the surface of the cake (making sure to penetrate all the way to the bottom). pour the syrup evenly over the surface of the cake and allow it to soak in for at least an hour.

this cake is commonly eaten with tea for breakfast or an afternoon snack.

Moroccan cauliflower tajine with carrots, pota…

Moroccan cauliflower tajine with carrots, potato, and olives

recipe under the cut!

ingredients:

  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small head of cauliflower
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 3 potatoes (to replace the meat that’s more common in a cauliflower tajine)
  • 2-3 large carrots
  • ½ cup bitter olives
  • pinch of saffron
  • 1 bouquet of parsley
  • 1 bouquet of cilantro
  • 1 tbsp salt, or to taste
  • 2 tsp ras el hanout (optional)
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 stick of cinnamon, or 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • ½ tsp mace (or substitute nutmeg)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup water

instructions:

1. prepare the vegetables: quarter or slice the tomatoes; peel and cut the potatoes into (very) large cubes; peel carrots and cut in half lengthwise (from the greens end to the tip) and crosswise; break the cauliflower into large florets.

2. place chopped onion, garlic, and saffron in the bottom of a large clay cooking tajine (you can also use a Dutch oven, a slow cooker, or a thick pot with a diffuser).

3. arrange the vegetables that take the longest to cook on the bottom of the tajine and the ones that cook the fastest towards the top. in this case, the potatoes are added first, then the carrots, then the cauliflower, then the olives. I prefer to quarter the tomatoes and put them in the centre underneath the other vegetables, but you can also slice them and lay them on top.

4. add parsley and cilantro over top of the vegetables, then sprinkle the spices evenly over the tajine. drizzle ¼ cup of olive oil and 1 cup of water over the spices and vegetables.

5. cover and cook on low for 2 to 3 hours, occasionally pouring liquid from the bottom of the tajine back over the top of the vegetables, until vegetables are tender and cooked all the way through.

baghrir (crêpes “mille trous” / Moroccan…

baghrir (crêpes “mille trous” / Moroccan crêpes with a “thousand holes”)

recipe under the cut!

makes 12-14 crêpes

INGREDIENTS:

for the baghrir:

  • 1 ½ cup (245g) semolina flour
  • 1 cup (135g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 cups (700ml) lukewarm water

for the syrup:

  • ~ 1 cup butter or vegan margarine
  • ~ 1 cup honey or agave nectar

INSTRUCTIONS:

for the baghrir:

1. add semolina flour, all-purpose flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and yeast to a food processor or blender, and pulse a few times to mix. (if measuring by volume, make sure to measure the all-purpose flour by spooning it into a measuring cup until heaping and then levelling off the excess–scooping with the measuring cup will pack the flour and cause you to add too much.)

2. with the food processor running on low, slowly add all of the water–a thin batter should form. continue to blend for another minute until well combined.

3. pour the batter into a large bowl and cover. let rest for about 20 minutes.

4. heat an ungreased pan over medium / medium-low heat for a few minutes. pour about ½ cup of batter into the middle of the pan–it will spread out into a circle on its own. you should soon see holes start to form in the surface of the baghrir. if holes don’t form as expected, your batter may be too thick–stir some water into it and leave it to rest for another 10-20 minutes. the batter should be very slightly frothy before you begin to use it (but don’t let it rest for too long either!).

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5. continue to cook until there are no more raw spots on the top of the baghrir, then remove to a plate with a spatula. the baghrir are only cooked on one side (though in some regions of Morocco they are cooked on top for just a few seconds–then they’re referred to as

khringos). if the bottom of the baghrir are browning before the top is cooked through, lower the heat a bit.

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for the syrup:

1. heat butter and honey, stirring often, in a small pan over medium heat until the honey is bubbling and the butter is melted. dip the baghrir quickly into the syrup, or pour the syrup over the baghrir.

baghrir are served warm with syrup or jam and are a popular Ramadan or snack food. typically they are rolled up and eaten with your fingers.

eggplant tajine with tomatoes, chickpeas and s…

eggplant tajine with tomatoes, chickpeas and squash

recipe under the cut!

ingredients:

  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 large eggplant, sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, or 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 zucchini or yellow squash (optional)
  • 2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 stick cinnamon, or 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp mace (or substitute nutmeg)
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup water

instructions:

1. peel eggplant in strips, if desired, and cut into slices about a half inch in width. soak the sliced eggplant in saltwater (optionally with a few tablespoons of lemon juice) for about an hour to remove excess water.

2. meanwhile, spread the chopped onion and minced garlic along the bottom of a clay tajine, slow cooker, or large pot with a diffuser. add the tomatoes, the squash (if using) and the chickpeas.

3. sprinkle the spices evenly over top of the vegetables in your tajine. drizzle ¼ cup of olive oil and 1 cup of water over the spices and vegetables. cover and cook on low for about an hour, until the squash and chickpeas (if using dried) are nearly tender. if you’re using canned chickpeas and forgoing the squash you may need less time.

4. heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. fry eggplant in a single layer for a minute or two on each side, until lightly golden brown. set aside on a plate lined with paper towels.

5. add the fried eggplant over top of the other vegetables and continue to cook, occasionally pouring some of the cooking liquid from the bottom of the tajine back over the eggplant, for another few minutes under very tender.

tajine is generally served warm with khobz.

Moroccan vegetable tajine

Moroccan vegetable tajine

recipe under the cut!

ingredients:

  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 3 potatoes
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup green olives
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • ½ tsp mace
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • pinch of saffron
  • 1 bouquet of parsley
  • 1 bouquet of cilantro

this is a good baseline, but you can also substitute out or add other vegetables/fruits as you please (popular ones also include cauliflower, turnips, peas, dried plums, and green beans), or play with the spices.

instructions:

1. prepare the vegetables: quarter or slice the tomatoes; peel and cut the potatoes into (very) large cubes; peel carrots and cut in half lengthwise (from the greens end to the tip) and crosswise; cut the yellow squash in half lengthwise and crosswise; cut the zucchini in half or in quarters (depending on its size) lengthwise and in half crosswise.

2. place chopped onion, garlic, and saffron in the bottom of a large clay cooking tajine (you can also use a Dutch oven, a slow cooker, or a thick pot with a diffuser).

3. arrange the vegetables that take the longest to cook on the bottom of the tajine and the ones that cook the fastest towards the top. in this case, the potatoes are added first, then the carrots, then the squash and the olives. I prefer to quarter the tomatoes and put them in the centre, but you can also slice them and lay them on top.

4. add parsley and cilantro over top of the vegetables, then sprinkle the spices evenly over the tajine. drizzle ¼ cup of olive oil and 1 cup of water over the spices and vegetables.

5. cover and cook on low for about 2 hours, occasionally pouring liquid from the bottom of the tajine back over the top of the vegetables, until vegetables are cooked.

vegan “beef” seffa madfounarecipe under the cu…

vegan “beef” seffa madfouna

recipe under the cut!

seffa madfouna is a Moroccan main dish that consists of a meat such as chicken, lamb, or beef buried (“madfouna”) in a dome of couscous or vermicelli that’s been sweetened with powdered sugar, golden raisins, and butter. without the meat, the dish is called “seffa” and is served as a dessert.

INGREDIENTS

for the seffa:

  • 1lb (450g) broken vermicelli (you can find this in a Middle Eastern or comparable store)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 8 cups (1 litre) water
  • 1 fresh lemon, halved, or 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp orange blossom water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¾ cup golden raisins, soaked in warm water
  • 2 tbsp vegan margarine
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar, or to taste

for the meat:

  • 2 packs Gardein beefless tips
  • 2 tsp ras el hanout
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper or whole black peppercorns, toasted and ground
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper

    or whole white peppercorns, toasted and ground

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large pinch saffron, toasted
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon, or 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

to top:

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp orange blossom water
  • about ½ cup dried dates (optional)
  • additional powdered sugar and ground cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS:

steaming the seffa:

the vermicelli will need to be steamed three or four times.

1. place vermicelli in a large bowl and, using your hands, coat evenly with oil.

2. boil about 8 cups of water, lemon, orange blossom water, and cinnamon in the bottom of a couscoussier, or in a large pot.

3. reduce heat to medium-low and add vermicelli in the top of your couscoussier, or in a strainer or colander that fits inside the pot without touching the water. steam for about 20 minutes, until you see the edges of the broken vermicelli begin to point upwards.

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[before and after steaming]

4. return the vermicelli to the bowl and add about 1 cup (250ml) warm, salted water, using your hands or a fork to ensure that the water is evenly distributed. allow the vermicelli to absorb the water for about 10 minutes.

5. return the vermicelli to the couscoussier and steam for another 20 minutes, until the edges begin to point upwards. this is the second steaming.

6. return the vermicelli to the bowl and add 1/3 to ½

(80 – 120ml) cup of water, depending on how dry the pasta feels. it should be almost tender enough to eat.

7. add in the golden raisins. return the vermicelli to the couscoussier and steam for another 20 minutes 

(you may need to add more water). this is the third steaming.

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8. repeat this process again if the vermicelli is still not tender enough to eat. it won’t have the same texture as cooked noodles but it shouldn’t be hard in the center.

9. add margarine and sisugar, making sure they’re evenly incorporated.

preparing the meat:

1. defrost the beefless tips in a bowl filled with warm water until no longer frozen.

2. mix the oil with the ras el hanout, ground ginger, black pepper, white pepper, salt, cinnamon (if using ground) and saffron. toss beefless tips in spiced oil, leaving aside about 3 tbsp for cooking the onions. set beef in the fridge to marinate.

3. heat the remainder of the spiced oil over medium heat and add onions, beefless tips, and cinnamon (if using a stick). cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and the tips are fully cooked. set aside.

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preparing the toppings:

1. blanch the almonds by leaving them in boiling water for about a minute, rinsing them in cool water, and gently removing their skins. dry thoroughly.

2. heat enough oil to cover the almonds in a pan over medium-low heat. an almond dropped into the oil should cause a bubble to form–if the oil sputters, it’s too hot. fry almonds, stirring constantly, until golden brown. allow to cool.

3. grind ½ cup of fried almonds in a food processor with 2 tbsp sugar and 2 tsp orange blossom water until coarse crumbs form. set aside.

assembling the dish:

1. spread a layer of vermicelli on the bottom of a large serving dish. top with a mound of beefless tips in a rough dome shape.

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2. pile the rest of the vermicelli on top of the beefless tips until they are fully covered, completing the dome.

3. top with fried almonds, almond mixture, ground cinnamon, powdered sugar, and dates as desired.

sweet potato and butternut squash tajine with almonds and golden…

sweet potato and butternut squash tajine with almonds and golden raisins

recipe under the cut!

ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 5 cups)
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced and crushed
  • pinch of saffron
  • 2 tsp ras el hanout (optional)
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp mace
  • 1 tsp fennel
  • 1 tsp anise seed
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • salt to taste (about 2 tsp)
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup almonds, blanched

instructions:

1. prepare the butternut squash by peeling it (microwaving it for about 30 seconds will make this easier), halving it lengthwise, scraping out the seeds and pulp, and cutting it into cubes of about 1″ in width.

2. peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into cubes of about the same size.

3. arrange onions and garlic in the bottom of a large clay cooking tajine (you can also use a Dutch oven, a slow cooker, or a thick pot with a diffuser). add the pinch of saffron, then arrange squash and potatoes in an even layer over the onions.

4. sprinkle the spices over the vegetables (you can play around with these but this is what I used), add the cinnamon sticks, and drizzle the olive oil over top.

5. cover the tajine and cook on low with a diffuser for about 30 minutes, until the squash and sweet potatoes begin to soften.

6. if using unblanched almonds, blanch them while the tajine cooks by placing them into boiling water for about a minute, draining and rinsing with cool water, then pinching the skin off each one.

7. after 30 minutes, add the golden raisins and blanched almonds and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until butternut squash and sweet potato are soft and cooked through.

tajines are typically eaten with khobz

taktouka (Moroccan cooked salad with green peppers, tomatoes,…

taktouka (Moroccan cooked salad with green peppers, tomatoes, and spices)

recipe under the cut!

ingredients:

  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 5 medium tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced and crushed
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro, diced
  • 1 small bunch of parsley, diced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

instructions:

1. char the skin of the peppers by roasting them on the burner of a gas or electric coil stove set to high, or on a grill, turning periodically with tongs or forks. if you don’t have a gas or electric coil stove or grill, you can roast the peppers in the upper third of an oven set to broil for 20 minutes, turning 4-5 times. all sides of the peppers should be black.

2. place the peppers in a covered pot, under an upside-down mixing bowl, or in a large zipped plastic bag for about 15 minutes to trap steam and make them easier to peel.

3. peel tomatoes by placing them in a covered bowl with just-boiled water for about a minute–this should make the skins easy to remove. seed and mince the peeled tomatoes.

4. remove the skin from the peppers, seed them, and mince them.

5. heat olive oil over medium heat until sizzling. add crushed garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt and sauté until aromatic, about 30 seconds. add minced tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to thicken.

6. add peppers, parsley, and cilantro and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 15-20 minutes until the mixture is dry. if the pepper is not cooked, add a few tablespoons of water and continue to cook.

7. top the salad with green or Beldi olives, slices of preserved lemon rind, and/or parsley as desired.

taktouka is served hot or cold with khobz as an appetizer or side dish.

msmen (Moroccan layered crêpes)recipe under the cut!(makes about…

msmen (Moroccan layered crêpes)

recipe under the cut!

(makes about 24)

INGREDIENTS:

for the dough:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups semolina flour
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ cup warm water

for assembly:

  • about ¼ cup smen / butter / vegan margarine
  • about ½ cup semolina flour
  • oil for coating and cooking

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. add just enough water to create a smooth, non-sticky dough–you may need less than 1 ½ cup.

2. knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes, until it is very smooth and elastic.

3. oil a baking sheet or another clean work surface. oil your hands and divide the dough into balls of about 1.5 – 2″ in diameter (or more, if you want to make larger msmen)

by pinching it between your forefinger and your thumb. add more oil to your hands as necessary. place the dough balls onto the oiled surface, cover, and allow to rest for about 20 minutes.

4. start with the first ball that you formed and work your way towards the last. with oiled hands, stretch each ball of dough out into a circle that is as thin as possible without tearing–the oil should help to make the dough more supple. the dough should be partially transparent.

5. dot the circle of dough with butter and sprinkle it with a bit of semolina flour.

6. fold one edge of the dough into the center of the circle, sprinkle with semolina, and then fold the other edge into the center. you should end up with the circle folded in thirds, like an envelope.

7. sprinkle the dough with semolina again. fold the top of the strip of dough down into the center, sprinkle again with semolina, and then fold the bottom of the strip up to form a sqare. place the square back on your oiled surface and repeat for each ball of dough.

8. again, start with the first square you formed and work your way to the last. on an oiled surface, flatten each square with your fingers until about doubles in size, trying to keep the folds still aligned with the edges of the square.

9. fry each square in a lightly oiled pan over medium heat for about two minutes on each side until golden brown. pressing down on each square for a few seconds with your hands or the flat end of a spatula will help them to cook evenly. you may find it expedient to fry the squares you’ve already formed while you’re flattening more.

10. place each finished square on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. add a bit more oil to the pan as necessary–I found it helpful to do this when 1/3 of the squares were fried, and again at 2/3 of the way through. serve hot.

msmen are typically eaten for breakfast or as an afternoon snack, spread with honey, jam, cheese, Nutella, you name it!