If you’re looking for ways to introduce new flavours to your cooking, you could do much worse than look to Morocco for some culinary inspiration.
The North African country is known for its blend of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavours, and there are plenty of dishes that you can try from this part of the world.
Of course, to whip up a storm in the kitchen you need to have the right ingredients in your cupboards, including things like Morocco Gold Extra Virgin olive oil. This can be the perfect finishing touch to many dishes, as well as a great oil for adding flavour to the food you’re cooking.
One dish where flavoursome olive oil is important is baba ganoush. This is an aubergine dish that’s best served with fresh flat bread. Moroccan chef Amina Zarkat shared her recipe for this classic Middle Eastern dish with Denver Post recently.
Her recipe is simple and produces a delicious baba ganoush. Start with one pound of aubergines (whole). Prick them in several places to prevent them from bursting when you roast them. Pop them in the oven and roast them for between 20 and 35 minutes at around 200 degrees C.
Once they’re soft and beginning to collapse, remove them from the oven and pop them in a bowl until they’re cool enough to handle. Make sure you cover the bowl as they cool. Remove the flesh and discard the thick skin and firm seed sacks.
Mash the flesh into a thick paste, and then mix in three crushed and minced cloves of garlic, half a cup of lemon juice, half a cup of olive oil, one teaspoon of sea salt and half a teaspoon of black pepper. Leave it to sit and integrate for at least an hour.
If your baba ganoush goes well, then you may want to try another Moroccan dish. Stuff.co.nz shared a recipe for a Moroccan chickpea bowl with bulgar wheat. The bulgar is mixed with grated courgette, as well as lemon juice and zest.
The chickpeas are cooked on a hob with half a red onion, a teaspoon of minced ginger, a crushed clove of garlic, half a teaspoon each of turmeric, garam masala and dried coriander, as well as a quarter of a teaspoon of cinnamon and 400g of chopped tomatoes as well as two tablespoons of tomato paste.
Start by cooking the onion in oil on a medium to high heat for a couple of minutes, before adding the spices, ginger and garlic. Then add the chickpeas, tomatoes and tomato paste and reduce the heat to a simmer, covering the pan and leaving it to cook for ten to 12 minutes until the sauce thickens.
As well as good quality olive oil, you may also want to stock up on some of the spices that are commonly found in Moroccan cooking. According to Yahoo! they include turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, saffron and paprika.
There’s also a popular spice mix in Morocco known as Ras el Hanout, which contains more than a dozen ingredients, typically cumin, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, allspice, dry ginger, chilli peppers, coriander seed, peppercorn, paprika, fenugreek and turmeric.