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Tag Archives: Moroccan cuisine

  • All About the Sauce: Charmoula Pt 2

    As a lover of all things related to food I am always eager to explore new and exciting ways to spice up my gastronomical world. However, if I go back to my Moroccan roots, I dont have to look any further than my own kitchen pantry.

    For me, there is no other diverse culture, like the Moroccan culture, which (for centuries) has presented such rich flavors, aromas, and textures in their culinary skills. The colorful presentation and perfect selection of spices and fresh ingredients are what make Moroccan food among one of the most pleasingly balanced of all cuisines.

    Recently, Ive written about charmoula (or chermoula) seasoning, which contributes to some of the most unique sauces and marinades that make Moroccan food stand out so proudly.Charmoula has been the basis for so many tagine-style dishes, and as previously mentioned, it can be used as a dry rub or a marinade. Continue reading

  • Head of the Shop

    Sometimes we get used to cooking with certain spices, but every now and then its good to break out of our normal culinary box and embark on a culinary adventure by trying a new spice or spice blend. You will be amazed at how much excitement can happen in the kitchen!

    Take for example, ras el hanout,some of you may have heard about this exquisite spice blend and some of you might have even used it, but if you haven't, then you are in for a real treat.

    Ras el hanout, loosely translated in Arabic means head of the shop which refers to the best spice the store has to offer. This king of spice blend reigns supreme in most North African cuisine, particularly Moroccan food. I recall as a child when I used to accompany my mother to the spice bazaar where each shop had their own unique ras el hanout. Continue reading

  • Kid Friendly Spices

    Whenever I am preparing snacks or meals for my children I always consider the types of seasoning I will use in the recipe. For I know all too well that their young palates and stomachs are not the same as grown-ups. And, lets face it -- kids are picky when it comes to eating their food. So I choose herbs and spices that are good for them as well as amping up the flavor.

    Cooking with herbs and spices not only makes the food taste better, it also creates a fabulous aroma that will hopefully entice your young ones to eat what you have cooked. More importantly, herbs and spices contain beneficial phytonutrients and antioxidants that help keep the body strong. In the ensuing issues of Romancing the Spice, we will highlight more about some of the amazing herbs and spices to use for making kid friendly meals. However, there is one rule of thumb you should follow: refrain from giving any herbs and spices to babies under eight months old. Continue reading

  • Tagine Treasure of the Desert

    The nomadic tribes of North Africa have been traveling across deserts and mountainous terrain for centuries, setting up camp and using tagine (or tajine) pots as portable cauldrons for cooking stews over an open-fire pit. The method might have been slow, but the meal was an all-in-one feast, much like a modern-day crockpot -- for these desert peoples, it was a matter of survival.

    Tagine derives its culinary name from countries such as Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. These North African countries have a rich culture steeped in Arab, Berber, European and other African influences -- specifically the tagine pots, which are as significant to their cookery as a wok is to Asian cuisine. Continue reading

  • Turmeric The Golden Wonder of Herbs & Spice

    Most of you who enjoy cooking probably have turmeric in your spice cabinet right now. And even though you may use it often, what you may not know is that this common item is one of the worlds best all around herbs.

    Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and is a perennial relative of the ginger family. Its tough brown skin and deep, orange-red fleshed rhizome is dried and ground into a powder. Although most usage of turmeric is in the form of root powder, the leaves of turmeric can be used to wrap and cook food which imparts a distinct flavor. This usually takes place in areas such as southern Asia where turmeric is grown locally, since the leaves used are freshly picked. Continue reading

  • The Spices of Morocco

    Agriculture, history and the Berbers (Morocco's earliest indigenous inhabitants), have all joined to produce one of the worlds greatest cuisines.

    Historically,North Africa was a stopping point on the spice trade route between Europe and the Far East. As a result, North African cooks adopted many spices into their cuisine. The freshness and variety of spices are crucial in North African cooking. People can buy freshly ground spices and fresh herbs in the souks (marketplaces lined with open-front stalls), typically found in the old quarters of cities. Sellers display great mounds of spices, creating a rainbow of colors and delicious array of smells. The markets also abound with fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs, fish, fresh and dried fava beans and lentils, grains, and jars of olive oil. The souk is a feast for the eyes and nose. Continue reading

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