Cooking in Marrakech
Today was our last full day in Morocco and we thought we’d celebrate the day by doing one of our favourite things: eating! We booked ourselves in for a Moroccon cooking class and it was awesome!
We’ve had some great food over the past 3 weeks here in Morocco and were really excited about getting the chance to learn a bit more about what it takes to make an amazing tagine! Our day started when Karima, the Moroccon lady who runs the cooking classes, picked us up from our hotel and walked with us to the fruit and veggie market in the medina. There we picked through the freshest organic produce available and selected the ingredients for the lunch we were about to cook for ourselves. From there we went on to the spice souk and bought the pepper, cumin, ginger and turmeric we would need to make said lunch extra tasty. It was great fun, shopping like a local!
Laden with our groceries we walked to the restaurant where Karima works as a cook. There the real fun began! On the menu for lunch: chicken, lemon and olive tagine with a traditional Moroccon tomato and capsicum salad on the side. The preparation and cooking was actually quite easy, and surprisingly simple given how amazing the final result tasted. Below is a summary of what we did, with a few pictures to illustrate how simple cooking delicious Moroccon food really is.
INGREDIENTS (per person)
1/4 chicken, roughly chopped
1/2 fresh lemon
1/2 preserved lemon (preserved lemons, we found out, are made by soaking lemons in brine for 2-3 months)
1 medium-sized red onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small chilli, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 pitted green olives
1. Place chicken in tagine and squeeze 1/2 fresh lemon over it, taking care not to let any pips fall into the tagine. Remove flesh from preserved lemon and place into tagine, again taking care not to let any pips fall in. Put rind aside for later.
2. Add in finely chopped onion, garlic, chilli, parsley and coriander, and ground cumin, ginger, black pepper, turmeric and sea salt.
3. Pour in olive oil and mix well, making sure the chicken is well coated in the tasty, tasty mixture.
4. Put the lid on your tagine and place it on a low heat (e.g. a small brazier of hot coals) for about 1 hour (chicken and fish cook in just an hour or so, beef and lamb take -3 hours). Stir occasionally, turning the chicken and basting it with the delicious sauce. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water if the mix gets too dry.
5. When the chicken is just about cooked add the green olives and preserved lemon peel into the tagine whole, put the lid back and leave it for another 15-20 minutes. When ready, leave the tagine to cool for a few minites then serve with fresh bread and some Moroccon salad.
Whilst the tagine was cooking we made our salad, which consisted of:
1 large ripe tomato
1 green capsicum
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 fresh lemon
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1. Put capsicum on a grill to cook.
2. Whilst this is cooking peel the tomato and remove all the seeds. Chop the tomato finely.
3. Add the red onion, parsley, coriander, cumin, black pepper and salt to the tomato.
4. When the capsicum is cooked, allow it to cool then peel it and chop it finely. Add chopped capsicum to the mix.
5. Squeeze 1/2 lemon into the mix (no pips allowed) and add in the olive oil. Mix it all around and voila – one Morrocon salad!
It was all so simple and easy, and sooo tasty! We lingered over lunch, chatting to our fellow classmates and enjoying a cup of that archetypal Moroccon beverage: mint tea. What a great way to end our time in Morocco! We’ll be leaving for East Africa tomorrow and whilst we’re sad to be leaving the colour and spectacle of Morocco, we’re also really excited about starting on the final leg of our adventure for the year: an African safari!