Markat Hzina: Moroccan Salsa

Markat Hzina roughly translates to “sauce of the mourning widow”. At a time when women didn’t work outside the home, becoming widowed often meant being poor. This salsa earned this name because a widow often had it and other simple vegetarian meals when she could no longer afford meat after the death of her husband. To this day, meat remains considerably more expensive than vegetables therefore many people are vegetarian by force, vegan even as dairy products are quite expensive as well.

I have a soft spot for meals that are known as a poor man’s dinner. They’re often the simplest and healthiest. Like dukkah and tchoutchouka, markat hzina is a poor person’s main dish but widely consumed as a side dish by the not so poor. In fact markat hzina is very similar to tchoutchouka; they’re both made with peppers and tomatoes. Tchoutchouka is made with cooked tomatoes and often eaten warm; markat hzina is made with raw tomatoes and seasoned with a light vinaigrette, a bit like a salsa or cold salad.

Markat hzina is the name given to this salad by Moroccan Jews but it is widely prepared by Muslims as well who simply call it salada felfla bi matecha (pepper and tomato salad).

Markat Hzina Recipe
(Moroccan Tomato and Pepper Salsa)

4 to 6 servings

1 green or red pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced (How to roast peppers)
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking together the olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Add the diced peppers, tomatoes and garlic. Toss to combine.

Serve cold or at room temperature with bread or chips.

Related Posts:

Celebrating Jewish Moroccan Cuisine


23 Responses to “Markat Hzina: Moroccan Salsa”

  1. 1

    La Table De Nana — 01/26/2011 @ 1:07 pm

    I have a soft spot for foods that are humble also..
    When I see the TV shows that feature Kobe(?) beef and say the price.
    I think even if it was in my budget..I would not buy it..

    I am happy you mentioned this..I never knew ..
    The salsa looks so fresh..
    I think I enjoy everything with roasted peppers in it.

  2. 2

    Peter M — 01/26/2011 @ 1:29 pm

    Yum, more tomatoes and cumin…love how this spice makes things warm and smoky.

  3. 3

    Bridgett — 01/26/2011 @ 6:42 pm

    Nisrine, the flavors here look beautiful. What a sad legacy this dish has but judging from the flavors, it doesn't sound like the widow would lack much in flavor. Lovely!

  4. 4

    Jhonny walker — 01/26/2011 @ 7:14 pm

    Looks delish! A such an innovative twst to dear salsa :) I am surely makin it soon!

    Thanks for the idea!

  5. 5

    Jennifurla — 01/26/2011 @ 7:44 pm

    I learn eith every visit here, lovely dish.

  6. 6

    Jennifer (Delicieux) — 01/27/2011 @ 3:23 am

    This looks delicious. I love a fresh salsa.

    I love your bowl too. So pretty.

  7. 7

    ♥peachkins♥ — 01/27/2011 @ 4:02 am

    wow! i'd love to dip some chips in it!

  8. 8

    yummyfoodies — 01/27/2011 @ 9:56 am

    oh this one reminded me the Matbucha salad which i only recently started making from scratch. it so much better when u make it urself isnt it? i bet ur recipe is also very versatile and u can use it as a pasta sauce, and as a shakshuka base and as a sauce for fish YUMMY!

  9. 9

    Julia — 01/27/2011 @ 11:08 am

    I agree, the so-called 'poor man's food 'is usually the best. A lot of Turkish food is like this and makes full use of the local fresh (and dried) ingredients. Makes perfect sense to me.

    This salsa looks really refreshing. Will try it soon…maybe with some warm, fresh bread. :)

  10. 10

    Joanne — 01/27/2011 @ 11:37 am

    Not gonna lie, I would be quite happy to sit around eating this right out of the bowl or on top of some rice. Delicious.

  11. 11

    kellypea — 01/27/2011 @ 3:15 pm

    I can think of all kinds of dishes to put this on. Wonderful recipe!

  12. 12

    Lucy — 01/27/2011 @ 5:54 pm

    Mmm this salsa makes me wish for summer – it looks so bright and fresh! Gorgeous :)

  13. 13

    Medifast Coupons — 01/27/2011 @ 7:26 pm

    Okay where are the chips I need to dip right into this salsa.
    Love fresh salsa, thanks so much for your recipe.

  14. 14

    Barbara Bakes — 01/27/2011 @ 8:56 pm

    What a wonderful dish, fresh, light and healthy!

  15. 15

    Cathy — 01/28/2011 @ 12:35 am

    I can happily make a meal out of salsa and chips. The roasted peppers add so much wonderful flavor.

  16. 16

    Fresh Local and Best — 01/28/2011 @ 1:04 am

    It is very true that people who eat like paupers are healthier. I like the story behind this recipe, the itself is so refreshing.

  17. 17

    Sanjeeta kk — 01/28/2011 @ 3:01 am

    That is one healthy bowl of salad. Love the colors and dressing.

  18. 18

    Anna's Table — 01/28/2011 @ 3:06 am

    Thanks for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. Loved your post on the origins of this recipe. Sometimes the best dishes are made with the simplest ingredients.

  19. 19

    A Canadian Foodie — 01/28/2011 @ 3:17 pm

    This would be delicious. Very simple. Simple is often best, and the quality of the tomatoes would be key in this dish. I will have to wait until mid summer or fall where I live… I do make a variety of salsas or bruschetta toppings or tomato salads = they are called so many things!
    I love them all. Haven't found one that didn't make me smack my lips, yet.

  20. 20

    Quay Po Cooks — 01/28/2011 @ 5:00 pm

    I love salsa and always welcome a different way of preparing it. This bowl of Moroccon salsa looks splendid! Love the bowl that holds it too. Nice photo.

  21. 21

    heidi — 01/29/2011 @ 2:32 am

    I love simple food, is the one that´s close to my heart. And this moroccan salsa with it´s humble (and sad) origins is just lovely and I´m quite sure is pretty tasty. I will try it out soon.

  22. 22

    Maria — 01/30/2011 @ 1:14 am

    I ordered my first Moroccan cookbook the other day and I am waiting eagerly for it to come. And then suddenly I stumbled upon your blog … and I am so glad I did!

    I very much like this "salsa" recipe … so fresh and flavorful!

  23. 23

    Erica — 01/30/2011 @ 2:40 pm

    Very interesting! I agree- veggie based or "poor man meals" always seem to be so good. This bowl of freshness looks delicious. Hope you're having a great weekend

Leave a Comment