Thanks to a night of endlessly flipping the channels on TV, I ended up watching an episode of Diners Drive Ins and Dives – From Kraut to Couscous. Now I am on a major tangent! He went to a restaurant in Texas called Moroccan Bites and that was one of the few times I have ever wished I was there with the host! After watching (and stupidly not taking notes) I was so excited when it was announced that we could get those recipes on the Food Network website! So, off I go, mouth watering, and … what? One dish! Just one dish’s recipe? What the heck was I going to do with one dish? And this one episode isn’t airing again until July 30th! So, once again, Google to the rescue!
After reading different recipes for a Moroccan Spice Blend (Ras El Hanut) I put this together (mostly because this is what I had on hand). If I had been more prepared, I would have preferred toasting the whole spices, then grinding, but most of the spices I have on hand are ground already. I store them all in the freezer to retain freshness but it’s still not the same.
Moroccan Spice Blend (Ras El Hanut)
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons ginger
- 2 teaspoons cardamom
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron
Makes about 1/4 cup. Store in an airtight container away from light.
This was really good but next time I will add more cayenne, black pepper, 1 teaspoon hot paprika, and 1 teaspoon less cinnamon. I don’t think my husband really cared for the slight sweetness, so I may have to abandon the cinnamon altogether. We’ll see.
This makes me want lamb more than ever but I don’t have any (and all they have in the stores right now is from Australia). I HAD to try this spice blend, so I found this recipe: Moroccan Rice Pilaf with Saffron.
When I first use a recipe, I usually do exactly what the recipe says. I typically use the exact amounts called for in a recipe. This time, the only thing I did different was to substitute my spice blend for the spices called for. Well, it was good but next time this is what my recipe will look like:
Moroccan Rice Pilaf
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons Moroccan Spice Blend
- 1/2 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
- 1 green bell peppers, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 2 cups long grain rice
- 3 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
- 2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
In a large frying pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onion and pine nuts. Saute until onions are opaque and pine nuts lightly browned. Next, add garlic, spices, peas bell peppers, carrot and rice. Continue to saute until rice turns white. Now, add chicken stock and salt (TO TASTE: I never add salt to my chicken stock when I make it, so I always have to add more salt than is typically called for in a recipe). Cover and turn heat down to low. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork, sprinkle with cilantro and serve. Serves 4 to 8.
And after going through my website files, I found this:
One Middle Eastern seasoning using the sumac berry that has been crushed and deseeded, is called “Za’tar.”
- 1 cup thyme, powdered
- 1 cup sumac (dried, pulverized and deseeded berries)
- 1/4 cup chickpeas that have been put in blender or well mashed.
- 3 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp marjoram
- 2 tsp. salt
Mix all ingredients and store in jar. ******
Za’tar can be served on thick toast that has been sprinkled with Az’tar, drizzled with olive oil and then broiled in oven. ******
To make a Za’tar pie
- 1 lb frozen bread dough or homemade dough
- 5 tbsp. za’tar
- 7 tbsp. olive oil
Roll dough into 2″balls, cover and allow to rise 1 hour. Mix za’tar with oil, put aside. Take each dough ball and flatten into 1/4″ rounds and put on well-greased cookie sheet. Spread za’tar mixture on top of each round. Bake at 350 degrees F until edges are well browned (about 20 min.)******
Za’tar with olives
- 1 lb washed black olives
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp za’tar
Mix all together in a jar and allow to sit for a day or two to enhance flavor. Stir
well before serving. ******