Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rainbow Moroccan Feast

I love Morocco and especially it's spices, vibrant, bold, exotic, dreamy...mysterious and gypsy.

As we are packing to move to San Jose, we are pretty low on supplies, a can of garbanzo beans, couscous and some veggies. My husband got limes from the garden and I got the inspiration from Keep it Skinny and voila- colorful, spicy, and easy...lunch, dinner, maybe even breakfast! Damn camera battery died before I could take a picture of the dish and my efforts to locate the charger were hopeless in the moving mess but I managed to take one shot of my Moroccan spice mix, Ras el Hanout! It is delicious!

Ras el hanout, is a spice blend that means literally "top of the shop", best blend of the merchant's spices. You can also make your own at home and there are many different recipes online. After reviewing a few, here is what I came up with:
1 tablespoon each of cumin, coriander, mustard seeds, toast well until fragrant.
1 tablespoon each of ground cardamom, cinnamon, cayenne, turmeric, salt, black pepper and 1 tsp nutmeg.

Toast all the spices together, high heat works great but make sure to stand by the stove, otherwise, keep the heat low and mix occasionally while doing other things. Once all toasted together blend in a spice grinder and that's it. The result was really magical!

Use 1 tablespoon of this mix in the recipe below. It also tastes great as a rice seasoning.

Rainbow Moroccan Feast
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced super thin
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1 zucchini diced, about 2 cups
  • 1 tablespoon spice mix
  • 1/2 cup of raisins or cranberries, optional
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • handful of parsley
  • 1 tomato diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
For the couscous:
  • 2 cups of couscous
  • 2 cups of veggie broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
Saute onions and garlic with the olive oil and add the zucchini with 1 tablespoon of the Ras el Hanout. Cook about 10 minutes, but make sure the zucchini is still firm. Add garbanzo beans and raisins. Heat through on low heat, add the spinach and turn off the stove.

In the meantime, prepare couscous according to package instructions. The brand we get here is super easy to make: Pour boiling water over couscous in a bowl and cover for 10 minutes. Instead of water, I used veggie stock, lemon juice, salt and olive oil. After 10 minutes, fluff the couscous with a fork.

Combine couscous with your veggies and taste for the seasoning. You can add more spices as you wish, however I'd recommend to check for salt and black pepper first and then acidity with lime juice and heat with cayenne.

Add parsley and diced tomatoes on top before serving.

By the way, if you have trip planned to Morocco, check out this list from Gwyneth Paltrow. Looks so inviting and magical:)

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