GREEN HARISSA RECIPE

8 Serrano peppers, stems and seeds removed
1 medium bunch cilantro, thick stems removed
4 garlic cloves
½ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt

 


Process the peppers, cilantro, garlic, olive oil and vinegar in a food processor until very smooth. Add the cumin and salt, and pulse again a few times to combine.

 

Transfer to a jar and top with a thin film of olive oil. Close the jar tightly and refrigerate. It will keep for up to 6 weeks.

 

Makes about 1 cup.

green harissa recipe

SFOUF

Sfouf, also called sellou or slillou, is a nutty toasted snack made during Ramadan. It is in coarse powder form and packed with nutritious ingredients, which are supposed to give fasters stamina, like an energy bar. It is eaten with a spoon, a bit like dry cereal from a bowl.
1 cup whole wheat or brown rice flour
2/3 cup sesame seeds
2/3 cup lightly salted roasted almonds or peanuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon anise seed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

 


 

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Place the flour in the skillet and toast it, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and nutty smelling, about 10 minutes. There will be a lot of smoke emanating from it, which is not to worry about. Transfer to a large bowl. (If using a larger quantity of flour, you’ll need to toast it longer.)

Toast the sesame seeds over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes.

Place the sesame seeds, almonds, brown sugar, anise seed and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor and grind them into a coarse powder. Add this mixture to the toasted flour and mix.

Stir in the melted butter and toss a couple of times to break any lumps. Serve at room temperature in small bowls and enjoy by the spoonful.

Serves 4
sfouf

BAGHRIR

‘Baghrir,’ aka, ‘thousand-hole pancakes’ are almost lacy with holes throughout the surface. They are traditionally topped with a warm sauce of melted butter and honey that gets completely soaked up into the holes, yielding moist, pleasantly soggy pancakes. Chopped nuts and dried fruits make an excellent garnish for these pancakes.

 

For the baghrir
2 cups fine semolina or cornmeal (preferably semolina)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast

¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon sugar

1 egg

1 cup milk, warm but comfortable to the touch

2 cups water, warm but comfortable to the touch

 

For the syrup

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup honey (preferably orange blossom)


Add all the ingredients for the baghrir to the container of a blender and blend until a homogenous batter is obtained. Transfer the mixture to a glass bowl, cover and allow to rest 30 minutes.

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat until very hot. Stir the batter, pour a ladleful of batter onto the skillet and cook until its surface is porous and the batter dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Baghrir cooks on only one side so there is no need to turn it over. Repeat until you’ve used up all the batter.

Prepare the syrup by melting the butter and honey over low heat until hot and sizzling, 2 to 4 minutes. Top the baghrir liberally with syrup and serve immediately.

Store remaining baghrir coverered in the refrigerator and reheat it before use.

Makes 8 to 12

SPICED YOGURT DIP

1 cup plain yogurt (or strained yogurt for a thicker consistency)

1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or finely chopped mint leaves

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/8 teaspoon chili powder

A pinch of cayenne pepper

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

 


 

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Stir them well to combine the flavors. Serve alongside vegetables, falafels or chips.

 
Makes 1 cup

WHOLE WHEAT MOROCCAN BISCOTTI

These cookies are twice-baked and known in Morocco as fekkas. They are crunchy and totally delightful.

1/4 cup golden raisins

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup honey (or brown sugar)

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 egg

1 cup whole wheat flour (or 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup pistachios or almonds, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons sesame seeds*

1 1/2 tablespoons aniseeds*

 


 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Soak the raisins until plump, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

Mix the oil, honey or sugar, and almond extract in a large bowl. Beat in the egg.

Add the flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix with you hands until well combined. Mix in the raisins, pistachios or almonds, sesame seeds, and aniseeds.

Shape the dough into a 10- to 12-inch log. Wet your hands with cold water if the dough becomes too sticky.

Bake on the prepared cookie sheet until risen and firm, 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool, 10 to 15 minutes. Cut the log diagonally into ½ to ¾-inch slices.

Place back on the cookie sheet and bake until hard, 6 to 7 minutes per side.

 

* If you prefer you can toast your seeds for a few minutes before adding them to the dough.

 

Makes 15 to 20 cookies

HARISSA

Add harissa to stews, marinades and salad dressings. A little bit goes a long way in spicing up a dish. For a quick sauce, mix a few teaspoons into yogurt or mayonnaise.

1 (12 –oz) jar roasted red bell peppers, or two home-roasted peppers, peeled
6 fresh red chili peppers, stems and seeds removed
5 garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
½ tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/16 teaspoon smoked paprika


Process the roasted peppers, chili peppers, garlic, olive oil and vinegar in a food processor until smooth. Add the salt, cumin, coriander and smoked paprika and pulse again a few times to combine. Transfer to a jar and top with a thin layer of olive oil. Close the jar tightly and refrigerate. It will keep for up to 6 weeks.

Makes about 2 cups

BAKED CHEBBAKIA

Chebakia is a Moroccan dessert with an intricate design typically served during Ramadan. This is a baked version of the fried original.

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (preferably unhulled) sesame seeds, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon anise seeds
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unrefined brown sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
¼ cup orange blossom water
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg, slightly beaten
12 oz honey


Toast the sesame and anise in a medium skillet over medium heat until fragrant, 5 minutes. Grind them in a food processor into a powder.

Transfer the ground sesame and anise to a mixing bowl. Add the turmeric, cinnamon, salt, brown sugar, baking powder and flour. Whisk to combine.

Crumble the saffron threads into the orange blossom water and let steep for a few minutes. Add to the dry mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients except the honey. Gather the dough and lightly knead it for a minute or two. Shape it into a ball, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out with a rolling pin to about 1/8 inch thick. Using a butter knife or a fluted pastry wheel cut the dough into rectangles about 2.5×3 inches. Cut 4 lines lengthwise on each rectangle without getting to the edge. The cuts should stop about ¼-inch from the edges. Fold the rectangles lengthwise the way you would a paper fan (by alternating forward and backward folding motions). Pinch the ends together and push them in slightly. This should fan out the strips. If necessary, manually separate the strips to fan out the cookie some more. (Alternatively, you can cut the dough into strips, stack them up and pinch the ends.) Place on the prepared pan. Gather the scraps and repeat until you’ve used up all the dough.

Bake the chebbakia until crispy and golden, 25 to 30 minutes.

Five minutes before the chebbakia is cooked, warm up the honey in a medium pot over low heat. As soon as you take the chebakias out of the oven, place them in the warm honey for about 10 minutes, turning them once. ( I keep the stove turned on at very low heat to keep the honey warm and runny.)Using a slotted spoon, transfer the soaked chebbakias to a plate. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Allow to cool before enjoying. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes about 20 cookies.

chebbakia

SAFFRON RICE

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons grated yellow onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 1/4 cups vegetable broth or water
1 cup parboiled long grain rice
1/4 cup golden raisins, rinsed
1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds


Add the saffron to 1/2 cup boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the grated onion and olive oil in a medium pot and saute until fragrant and golden, 2 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add 2 1/4 cups of broth or water and bring to a boil over high heat.

Add the rice and saffron infusion. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot with a lid and cook the rice until tender, 25 minutes. Stir in the raisins and almonds. Serve warm.

Serves 4

MOROCCAN ROASTED BELL PEPPER & TOMATO SALAD

Known as tchoutchouka, this is one of the most popular Moroccan salads. It is best served warm with bread as a tartine or side to any dinner.

2 medium green bell peppers
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground paprika


Line the surroundings of a gas burner with aluminum foil (you’ll be thankful you did when the pepper starts dripping its sticky juices). Turn on the flame to medium-high and char the peppers on all sides until blackened and blistered all over, about 10 minutes. Use tongs to turn them as they can get very hot.

Place the peppers in a paper bag and close it, for about 15 minutes, to allow the peppers to sweat and their skin to become softer. Peel the skin off the peppers using your fingers. Discard the stem and seeds. Finely dice the peppers. Set aside.

Place the tomatoes in a medium skillet with olive oil. Add the garlic and season the tomatoes with salt, pepper, cumin and paprika. Cook the tomatoes until they become soft and turn into somewhat of a thick, chunky sauce, 10 to 15 minutes. Mix in the diced peppers and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Taste the seasoning and adjust to your taste.

Serve warm or at room temp.

Serves 4

MOROCCAN COUSCOUS SOUP

2 leeks, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 bay leaves
5 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup whole grain couscous


Place the leeks and olive oil in a pot. Sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the carrots, celery and bay leaves. Stir in with ground coriander, turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook over gentle heat, 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove the pot from heat. Discard the bay leaves. Add the couscous, cover with a lid and let stand 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

Serve steaming hot.

Serves 4