eggplant tajine with tomatoes, chickpeas and squash
recipe under the cut!
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
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.
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.
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.
vegetable pastilla (Moroccan sweet and savoury pie with squash, chickpeas, and almonds)
recipe under the cut!
I’ve substituted the typical pigeon or chicken with zucchini, yellow squash, and chickpeas in this vegan recipe. for the shell you’ll need to make warqa dough (which isn’t really commercially available outside of Morocco), or you can substitute store-bought phyllo dough, which isn’t quite as thin and crispy but will do the trick.
for the warqa dough:
1 ¾ cup high-gluten bread flour
¼ cup semolina flour / durum flour (or substitute all-purpose flour)
½ cup dried chickpeas soaked overnight, or 1 can chickpeas
3 vegan eggs from Follow Your Heart (optional)
1 small bouquet of parsley, diced
1 small bouquet of cilantro, diced
1 ½ cup almonds
1 tbsp cinnamon
¼ cup plus 1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp orange blossom water
to form the pastilla:
¼ cup vegan margarine, melted
additional almonds (optional)
about 2 tbsp powdered sugar
about 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
for the warqa:
1. add flours and salt to a food processor and pulse a few times to sift.
2. add the wet ingredients and process on low for 1-2 minutes, until you get a smooth batter.
3. refrigerate the batter for at least two hours, or overnight.
4. bring a few inches of water to a fast boil in a large pot, and place a large, nonstick pan over the pot, tying it with kitchen string if necessary–this will help to evenly distribute heat and prevent the warqa from drying out. allow the pan to heat for a few minutes.
5. using a pastry brush, brush a thin layer of batter onto the pan in large, circular strokes, filling the entire pan. carefully apply a second layer to any bare spots (but don’t worry about small holes or feathery edges).
6. cook until the warqa becomes opaque and the edges start to curl, about 2 minutes. loosen the edges of the dough with a spatula and peel the dough off of the pan using your hands.
7. flip the dough over onto a plate covered with a paper towel, and lay another paper towel on top of it. repeat, stacking the sheets of dough on top of each other, until you’ve used all of the batter.
for the savoury filling:
1. toast cinnamon stick, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and saffron threads in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant. (if using ground spices, just toast the saffron threads.)
2. grind spices in a spice mill (I use a coffee grinder). if you’re using ground spices, you can just crush the toasted saffron threads with your fingers or in a mortal and pestle.
3. mix ground spices, ras el hanout, and 2 tsp salt with 3 tbsp olive oil–if you’re using ground ginger, add it now. chop the zucchini and yellow squash into small cubes and coat them with the spiced oil.
4. spread the squash evenly in a single layer over a baking sheet and roast at 450F for 20 minutes.
5. heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan on medium heat for a few minutes until sizzling. add diced onion and garlic and grated ginger and cook for a few minutes until fragrant, stirring occasionally.
6. (optional): whisk ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp Follow Your Heart vegan egg mix with 1 ½ cups of cold water until smooth.
7. add egg mixture, roasted squash, chickpeas, parsley, and cilantro to the pan with the onion and garlic. heat, stirring occasionally, until the eggs are fully cooked and appear scrambled (or until the filling is warmed through, if you’re omitting the eggs).
for the almond filling:
1. blanch the almonds by boiling them in water for about a minute, emptying them into a colander and rinsing with cool water, and gently pinching the skins to remove them.
2. heat about 2 tsp of vegetable oil on medium in a large pan and fry the almonds for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until golden brown. set aside some almonds for a topping, if desired.
3. pulse almonds, sugar, cinnamon, and orange blossom water a few times in a food processor until you get coarse crumbs.
forming the pastilla:
1. place one sheet of warqa in the bottom of a pie pan and brush with melted margarine. place 4-5 more sheets around the pan so that they cover all of the sides and hang over the edge, brushing each one with more melted margarine. add 2 more sheets of warqa in the middle, brushing each with margarine.
2. place the savoury filling in the pie, making sure that it’s even and spread all the way to the edges.
3. (optional): add another sheet or two of warqa on top of the savoury filling and brush with margarine.
4. spread the almond filling over the warqa, making sure that it’s even and spread all the way to the edges.
5. add another 2-3 sheets of warqa, brushing each with margarine, and fold the excess inwards.
6. fold the excess warqa around the sides of the pan inwards, brushing each sheet with more melted margarine.
7. cover the pastilla with 1-2 more sheets of warqa, tucking the excess into the sides of the pie pan. brush the entire thing with more margarine to seal.
8. bake on the center rack of an oven at 400F for about 40 minutes, until warqa is golden brown and crisp. allow to cool slightly before removing from pan.
1. sift powdered sugar evenly onto the surface of the pastilla.
2. add ground cinnamon, spread evenly or in a pattern as desired (I formed diamonds by criss-crossing lines of cinnamon carefully with a small spoon).
3. add the almonds you kept back from the almond filling as desired. you can also use sliced or slivered almonds. try doing an image search for “Moroccan pastilla” or “pastilla marocaine” for decoration ideas.
cut carefully and serve! pastilla is often eaten with harissa, a North African hot sauce made with red peppers.
1. prepare the vegetables: chop the onion, peel the potatoes and turnips and cut them into large cubes; peel the carrots and cut them into large chunks (horizontally in pieces of about 3 inches and then in half lengthwise); wash the zucchini and cut it in the same way; peel the tomatoes (placing them in a covered bowl for about a minute with some boiling water should make this easy) and cut them into forths, keeping the seeds; cut the cabbage into very large pieces; and dice the parsley and cilantro.
2. heat olive oil in a large pot on medium-high until it starts to shimmer. add chopped onion and ras el hanout, cumin, paprika, ginger, cinnamon, and salt and saute until the onion begins to turn transluent (about 8 minutes).
3. lower the heat to medium / medium-low. add potatoes, turnips, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, chickpeas (if using dried), saffron, parsley, and cilantro to the pot along with 2 cups of water. cover and cook for about an hour.
4. add the zucchini, red chilis, chickpeas (if using canned) and another cup of water. taste and adjust spices. cover and continue to cook until the zucchini is slightly soft, about 15 minutes. remove from heat.
for the couscous:
1. add 3 cups of couscous to a large bowl. add olive oil and work the couscous with your fingers until the grains are coated in the oil.
2. add salt and boiling water, then cover the bowl. allow couscous to steam for about 10 minutes.
3. add butter if desired and fluff up the couscous with a fork–it should be cooked through and much larger in volume.
1. in a large dish, pile the couscous in a dome-like shape.
2. pour some of the sauce from the pot over the couscous, then top the dome with the vegetables as desired. (make sure to fish out the cinnamon stick if you used one!)
couscous dishes are always eaten with khobz and are especially popular during Ramadhan.
about 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 or 2 13.5 fl oz. cans or boxes of coconut milk (preferably Chaokoh or another brand that has nothing added to it), refrigerated and allowed to separate
2 tablespoons of red curry paste
1 small white onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
a 1-inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 zucchini, sliced
1 cup mushrooms
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
2 tsp brown sugar
4 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp rice vinegar
splash of lime juice
a few tablespoons of basil (optional)
salt to taste
1. slice open the package of tofu on one side and drain out as much water as you can. press the tofu–place a dish towel or folded paper towels on a hard surface, then place the block of tofu on top of those, then add another layer of towels, and then weight it all down with something (about the weight of a can of soup). leave that for about 30 minutes to get more moisture out.
2. cut the tofu into even cubes of your preferred size. lay the cubes on a plate in a single layer and freeze for a few hours, until they darken and harden. toss the frozen tofu into boiling water and boil for at least 15-20 minutes, agitating occasionally.
3. remove cubes of tofu from boil and drain. pat them dry with a towel to get as much moisture out as possible. sprinkle 2 tbsp of cornstarch over them and coat evenly. heat coconut oil in a large pan on medium-high heat and then add tofu. turn the cubes to a new side to cook every couple of minutes, until all sides are golden brown (this is tedious but I find that chopsticks help). set aside and rinse out your pan.
4. open 1 can of coconut milk and scoop out just the cream–it should form a solid, white layer on the top. add the cream to your pan and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the fat in the cream starts to separate out from the oil. (if this doesn’t happen, which is possible depending on what kind of coconut milk you used, just add some coconut oil to the pan and you’re good to go.)
5. decrease the heat to medium-low and add the curry paste to the coconut milk. fry for 5-10 minutes, until you can see coloured oil start to separate out.
6. add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion starts to soften and turn transculent. add the ginger and garlic and cook for another minute, stirring often.
7. add the brown sugar, the remaining coconut water from the first can of coconut milk, and the cream from a second can of coconut milk if desired. increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil.
8. decrease heat to medium and add tofu, zucchini, and mushrooms. simmer until zucchini starts to soften slightly.
9. add bell peppers and cook for another 5 minutes, until slightly softened. add soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, and salt. serve over brown jasmine or long-grain brown rice.
Ingredienti (4 persone): 400 gr di casarecce, 1 cippola, 2 zucchine, 250 ml di panna di soia, olio q.b, sale q.b., 0,1 gr di zafferano in polvere Procedimento: In una padella rosolare la cipolla e aggiungere le zucchine tagliate a pezzetti. Cuocere per circa 10 minuti. Aggiungere la panna e lo zafferano, salare e mescolare bene. A parte cuocere al dente la pasta in abbondante acqua salata e scolare. Aggiungere la pasta nella pentola con il condimento, facendola saltare 1 minuto a fuoco acceso e servire.
—————————————————————————– PASTA WITH PANNA, ZUCCHINI AND SAFFRON
Ingredients (4 servings): 400 grams of pasta (linguine), 1 onion, 2 zucchini, 250 ml of soy cream, oil to taste, salt to taste, 0.1 grams of saffron powder Procedure: brown the onion in a pan and add the zucchini cut in pieces. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the cream and saffron, add salt and mix well. Apart cook the pasta in salted water and drain. Add the pasta in the pan with the sauce, pan-fry 1 minute with the burner turned on and serve.