Friday Fun: Food Fiesta

See, I do fulfill requests. Eventually. It's a time thing - I have too much of it, so I fritter it away. Cynic, if you like, you can take the whole recipe (and any others) for the food blog - I'm too lazy to actually submit any.

Now this one takes a little more time than the others I've put up, but it's fairly simple to make. Perfect for a rainy monsoon day or chilly winter evening (or, if you live on this island, pretty much 95% of the year).

Colourful Moroccan Tajine

Time Required:
About 45 minutes.

Keep Ready (in order) (to serve 4):
A large tajine
Oil (preferably olive)
Two cloves garlic, crushed
One red onion, roughly sliced
Turmeric, 1tsp
Cumin powder, 1tsp
Harissa paste*, 2 tsp
Cinnamon, small stick
Star anise, two pieces
Mustard paste, 1tsp
Tomato paste, 1tbsp
3-4 medium P
otatoes, diced
2 carrots, diced
Chickpeas**, 250g
500ml stock
Mixed coloured peppers, sliced
Creme fraiche***, or curd, 5tbsp
Chopped fresh coriander

Heat the oil in the tajine over a medium-high heat, and add the garlic and onions. Cook till they just start to go golden, with the occasional stirring, then lower the heat to medium-low and add the harissa, cumin and mustard. Fry for about six to eight minutes (stirring continuously so that the spices don't stick to the tajine), till they are really aromatic.

Then add the tomato paste, potatoes and carrots and fry for a couple of minutes till they're well-coated with the spices. Add the chickpeas and the stock, bring to a boil, then cover the tajine and simmer for about 30 minutes till you've got a thickish gravy. Add the peppers, stir in the creme fraiche and fresh coriander and let cook for another 5 minutes.

Garnish with more coriander, and serve with hot pitta bread, hummus and olives. Or just serve on a bed of plain cous cous.

Why you should try this:
Cooking with/in a tajine is fun. It's like a mini-tandoor and very reminiscent of cooking biryani - it's slow, it needs attention so that the dish doesn't burn or become too dry, and the way the aroma slowly builds up and permeates the entire house is just divine.

This dish is not properly authentic (they wouldn't use mustard or anise in Morocco), but it is utterly filling and colourful, and makes for a great variation from only making channa masala with chickpeas. The creme fraiche or curd helps to soften the kick of the harissa, and when you dip in some hummus-lathered pitta and have a big mouthful of this - it's just wild.

1) Traditionally, you would add some form of red meat or chicken to this. If you do, then add it before the veggies, and brown properly. If you don't want to use either, but would like the taste, you could use chicken stock instead.

2) You could also add the peppers in with the chickpeas. I tend to add them later so that they retain a little crunchiness.

3) You could also garnish with spring onions, instead of just coriander.

4) You could add additional veggies if you really want to make it can't-possibly-move-an-inch heavy - cauliflower, courgettes, leeks.

* This is the key ingredient in the dish. If you can't find any readymade harissa paste, bloody well make some.
** Tinned chickpeas are the easiest. If you can only get hold of dried ones, please soak them for a couple of hours beforehand at least.
*** Creme fraiche is always preferable to curd, simply because it's not as sour as curd can be, and it also lends to a more thick consistency.


Szerelem said...

Will you cook this for me? Please? I am even coming to the UK, see.

Mo said...

How do you expect us to put this on bhajifried when at least two of things require googling?

Aside - Can you cook this for me as well? I promise to come to wherever you are.

??! said...

Hmm. This could be considered.

You are, after all, travelling all this distance. But then you went to Turkey and put up snaps of food to torment us. Hmm...

Oh well, I tried. You could always just take all the others I've put up. They're easier. Again, too lazy to actually submit.

Also, maybe I just set up up dabba business.