October 8, 2014
At Home with Friends

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Moroccan Feast: Flavors of Morocco

Photography by Krista Bates

SPICES

The thing that makes Moroccan cuisine unique and distinctive are the flavors that come from unusual spices and herbs and the subtle mixture of sweet and savory in the recipes.

Some of the recipes in this menu are absolutely authentic and some are inspired by the flavors of Moroccan food. All of the recipes use authentic seasonings and flavors.

There are a few basics that you need to know about. I use them in all types of cooking. They elevate any dish you prepare.

 

 Preserved Lemons

  • Preserved lemons are one of the most important ingredients in Moroccan cuisine. There is simply no substitute. These are lemons that have been cured in salt and lemon juice. They are easy to make but can’t be made at the last minute as they take at least 1 month to cure. I have made them and will post the recipe. I have used both homemade and readymade lemons and the results were the same. You can find the brand of readymade I like at my Amazon Affiliate Store. When using them, you scrape away the pulp and use the peel, slivered or chopped. If you’ve never used preserved lemons, this is a great ingredient to add to your pantry and expand your cooking skills. An opened jar keeps in the refrigerator for at least a month.

 

Ras El Hanout

  • I’ve mentioned this before in the recipe for the Jicama Salad at my Mexican Fiesta party. The name translates into “top of the shelf” because it was the best spice blend a spice seller sold. It is both aromatic and warming and enhances every dish you use it on. (I put in on my fruit and yoghurt in the morning.)  An authentic ras el hanout can contain as many as 26 different spices. Rather than give you a recipe to make your own (which you’ll never do), I suggest you buy it from one of the source I buy from: Amazon.

 

Harissa

  • This is a hot sauce frequently used in North African food. You can buy it readymade in a paste or you buy it in a dried spice blend, or you can make your own. I buy the paste (which is at my Amazon Affiliate Store) and I also buy the dried spice mixture. This is another one of those magical ingredients that you will find yourself reaching for, time and time again, to add some heat and depth of flavor to many dishes.

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