Tag Archives: Moroccan

Harissa Spiced Tofu Bowl with Cured Lemon Cous-Cous and Herbed Yogurt

9 Mar

YUM. A colourful and spicy triumph. This whole dish was inspired by an experiment with preserved lemons (which I made ages ago) yet mysteriously had not been enlisted to bolster any recipes. They are my new favourite ingredient. I love Middle Eastern flavours.  It may be my favourite kind of food (after Indian, obvs), and something I’d like to experiment with much, much more.

All of the elements of this dish worked together beautifully. The tofu was spicy and chewy, the couscous fluffy and savory, the avocado rich, and the tangy herbed yogurt tied it all together seamlessly.

20140309-235243.jpgThis was also my first time making Harissa paste. It is a Tunesian hot pepper paste that is usually made with fresh hot red peppers. I didn’t have any of these on hand, so I substituted them for dried chili powder and smokey paprika. It was pretty easy and packed a huge punch of flavour. I can’t wait to try it out again (with fish, with chicken, with chickpeas, and and and…)

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Harissa Paste: 

  • 1/2 half teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 cloves garlic (crushed or shredded)
  • 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Mix.

I then coated the tofu cubes with the spice paste and let it sit for 1 hour (the longer the better). On an oiled baking sheet I baked the tofu with lemon slices at 350 for about 45 minutes. (I really like baked lemons, bothvisually and for a cleansing, sour finish to the meal!)

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Meanwhile, I prepared the cous cous and yogurt.

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Moroccan Spiced CousCous

  • 1 medium sized onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • red pepper, sliced
  • 2 small dates, chopped (or substitute raisins or dried apricots)
  • juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
  • olive oil
  • 3/4 tablespoon cured lemon rind (chopped finely)
  1. In a small pot, bring 3.5 cups of salted water to a boil (optional: use vegetable or chicken stock). Once boiling point is reached, add two cups of couscous and remove from heat. Add one tablespoon olive oil and cover tightly.
  2. Meanwhile, in small frying pan, fry onions until soft (about 6 minutes). Add spices (minus the parsley) and fry over medium heat until fragrant (about 2 minutes) mixing well. Add some coconut oil if the pan gets too dry. This should form a nice paste.
  3. Once couscous is ready (about 5 minutes) remove lid and fluff gently with a fork. Add to frying pan and mix wit onion and spice mixture. Add raw tomatoes, peppers, lemon juice, lemon rind, dates and parsley, taste for salt and adjust accordingly. Mix well.

This made for awesome leftovers.

“What is cured lemon rind?” I hear you wondering. It’s basically lemons pickled in their own juice with lots of salt and a few spices. You only use the rind for flavour, and a little bit goes a really long way to brighten up any dish.  I was inspired by Chuck Hughes’ Food Network show Chuck’s Day Off, which I love. He put it on fish, and made it look so sexy (the fish I mean).

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You should try it out!

Cured Lemons:

  • 4 lemons
  • 1.5 cups course sea salt
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 4 kefir lime leaves

Read more 

Cured things make me happy. Listen to this song while making these for a double whammy.

Now onto the easiest/yummiest concoction…

Herbed Yogurt

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or one clove fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilntro
  • 1 teaspoon dried chives
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch brown sugar, to taste

If you do nothing else, make sure you include this yogurt. It made the meal, in my opinion!

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To serve, pile all elements haphazardly into one bowl. I served with a dollop of garlic hummus, avocado, sesame flat breads and fresh cilantro.

Dayyyum.

And that’s how we do March.

M

My Moroccan Feast

21 Mar

Its not often when a meal works together so completely. Layers of textures and flavours that all taste wonderful when eaten one on top of the other, in different combinations. That rare and perfect meal, where you wouldn’t change a thing (this is especially true if you are the cook).

Vegetarian Moroccan stew, couscous with mint and raisins,  fattoush salad, tzatziki with cucumbers, and warm pita.  It reminded me of the “falafel plate”‘ from Ali Baba’s. (Brainwave- must include these next time!)

Tzatziki with Cucumbers

I mostly followed this recipe that I found on About.com

  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 3.5  medium cloves of crushed garlic (two regular sized, two small! Just use 3)
  •  1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cucumber finely chopped
  • cracked black pepper

Very simple, but the cool garlicy-ness added a lot to the meal when spooned over the stew. This makes quite a lot, but it is even better the next day.  I also realize that Tzatziki is not Moroccan…but we had a lot of yogurt)

Fattoush Salad

  • 1.5 cups of  chopped cabbage
  • 1/2  red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2 hand fulls of mixed greens
  • 1 small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • roughly torn fresh mint to taste

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbs honey
  1. Mix

This recipe traditionally calls for fried pita “croutons” , which I imagine would be quite delicious. I opted against it only because we were already having pita with the tzatziki and I only had two.

Next time!

Ok, ok.  That other stuff is great, no doubt. But the real star of the show here is the Moroccan Stew. I can’t tell you how quick, healthy and easy this was to make. Hearty, spicy and flavourful. Not only that, but you can throw in almost any veggie that is lying around the kitchen and it would come out delicious every time. It recipe is definitely going into my  repertoire.

Vegetarian Moroccan Stew 

This recipe from allrecipes.com was my guideline for the spices.

  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

I added

  •  1 cup shredded kale
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 can red beans ( I was reaching for lentils but ended up with these- were great!)
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 1.5 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup water
  1.  Saute onion in pot or pan with coconut oil until transparent- about 8-10 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, assemble spice mixture and set aside
  3. Shred kale and saute with the onions until soft. Add spices at this point and turn heat to medium. Fry spices until fragrant, about 1 minute. 
  4. Add tomato, beans and chopped sweet potato and water. Bring to boil and then simmer on medium to low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until potato is soft. 
  5. Serve over cous cous and garnish with fresh parsley and yogurt. 

Warm and spicy. Yum!  I made couscous and mixed in olive oil, raisins and torn fresh mint.  When combined, the  sweetness of the raisins was so tasty and the mint added nice dimension.  If I wasn’t serving the stew with the couscous, I would make sure to add raisins or chopped dried apricots directly to the stew. The sweetness is a must!
I’m sorry to brag, but this was fantastic.  For my birthday I recently received a beautiful bright red tagine.  It is a self contained cone shaped pot that  keeps all the moisture in, resulting in tender meat.  I can’t wait to try it out.  The next time I have a dinner party, you’re invited. Be forewarned, the theme will be Moroccan.
Immy May

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