If you have read some of my previous blog posts you will know that I love Moroccan food: the mouth-watering appetisers, the mix of spices in the tagines, the couscous, and the sweet, sticky, pastries. Despite purchasing local spices in the souks and asking for recipes when I am travelling I have struggled to recreate some of the dishes so I was pleased to discover that the chef and creator of the website, My Moroccan Food, Nargisse Benkabbou, has written a cookery book. Casablanca is packed with mouth-watering Moroccan recipes.
The book includes the staples of Moroccan cuisine: the traditional spice mix, ras el hanout and three variations of harissa, the paste from chillies and sweet red peppers. Chermoula, the garlicky, lemony, sauce with parsley, coriander, paprika and cumin, which adds a kick to a dish is also included.
Contemporary Moroccan Recipes
Nargisse has taken these traditional flavourings and added a contemporary twist. For example, there is a recipe for ras el hanout in a crab and cauliflower soup, sticky ras el hanout and peach short ribs, and a ras el hanout carrot cake. Chermoula, traditionally used with vegetables and fish is sweetened and added to beef and to cheese with aubergines. Harissa is combined with lemon in a chicken tray bake with sweet potatoes and cauliflower.
There are tagine recipes, mouth-watering fish recipes, like the Essaouira fish couscous, lemon honey and rose Swiss chard stuffed bream and chermoula crumbed cod. The bread recipes range from Khobz, the bread you will see at most meal times to Mlaoui flatbreads, often served at breakfast and amlou rolls.
To date I have made the pistachio, orange and olive oil flourless cake, pictured above, which is deliciously moist and full of flavour and chermoula with crumbed cod. Not in the book but also recommended is a recipe for beetroot, chocolate and rose brownies which can be found on Nargisse’s website.
If you like Moroccan food and like to experiment with flavours I recommend this book of Moroccan recipes with a contemporary twist. Casablanca is published by Mitchell Beazley and is available here.
Read our Q&A with Nargisse Benkabbou here
Find out how Khobz is baked in the Medina here
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