For instance, I mentioned briefly in my last post about visiting the medinas in each city, which are essentially the "Old Cities," before they expanded and became the modern city of today. Meaning, in every city there is still a large portion of the population that live in the medinas and still practice ways of life as they were hundreds of years ago! We learned that every neighborhood there is required to have four things: 1) a mosque 2) a Koranic school for children 3) a communal bakery (women make their dough at home and bring it to the baker who is then responsible for baking the bread of all the families in that neighborhood - it is also an opportunity for socializing) and 4) a hammam, which is a public bath where people may wash themselves with running water.
|It is so hard to these places justice, mostly due to the sheer size and grandeur of each mosque, but this one we visited while inside the medina.|
|This is the communal bakery where the women bring their dough to be baked by this guy...he has one heck of a memory!|
|Fish on fish on fish|
|I was not kidding about the narrow corridors!|
|The best part is that you eat everything with bread....definitely my kind of place!|
|Or perhaps you would enjoy a nice leg of lamb? (Thank you to my brother Austin, who so willingly played along with me!)|
|Kabab mardor - hearty, stew-like, and delicious|
|These scrumptious little morsels are fried cheese pastries with a nice salty, sorta au jus dipping sauce. I know....I got them every chance I got!|
Alright, my dear, patient followers, only a few more words (and pictures), and I will give you a recipe for the most traditional Moroccan dish, chicken tagine, so you may experience if for yourself! While we were in Marrakesh, we had the chance to take a little cooking class. We were each given an apron, a work station, and a cup of mint tea, of course!
|This is The Dada. She is the top chef, so to speak. She runs the kitchen. She didn't speak English, but with the help of a translator, she showed us how everything is done. She was the bomb-digg.|
|Everybody hard at work!|
|My mom got a chance to roll the dough..and she did, like a pro!|
|Unfortunately it was a quick-paced class, and I didn't have a photographer to get step-by-step shots, but this is the finished product (and, yes, I did indeed make those tomato roses!), and you will have the instructions to get here.|
Chicken Tagine with Lemon
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
400 grams of chicken cut in chunks
1/2 of a lemon
1/2 red onion
1 tbs parsley, finely chopped
1 tbs coriander, finely chopped
1 clove garlic
1/2 tbs course salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 heaping tsp turmeric
pinch of saffron
1 tsb olive oil
1 tsp clarified butter
4 tbs water
Cut lemon in half and separate flesh from peel. Chop lemon flesh and place in tagine (or a Dutch oven or creuset), add in finely chopped garlic, parsley, coriander, as well as the remainder of the spices.
Coat chicken in the marinade and add in finely chopped onion.
Sear the chicken in the tagine on medium heat for twenty minutes, turning chicken over from time to time.
After twenty minutes of searing, add 1/4 liter of cold water and let simmer (lid on) for about 45 minutes, or until chicken has browned and sauce has thickened.
Add olives and serve!
1 medium size eggplant
1 heaping tsp cumin
1 tbs finely chopped parsley
1 tbs olive oil
1 large tomato
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt
1 heaping tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
Chili powder to taste
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
Partially peel and dice eggplant. In a frying pan, add eggplant, one finely chopped garlic mashed with 1 tsp of salt and 1 tbs olive oil.
Cook on low heat with lid on for 5 minutes; then, turn and mash eggplant until soft and brown.
Peel and dice a tomato, add to eggplant, add paprika, cumin, pepper, and chili.
Keep mashing until tomato is cooked.
Add white wine vinegar before you turn off heat and sprinkle with parsley.
Served cold or warm!
Thanks for sticking through with me on this particularly long piece, but like I said, it is a rich and dynamic culture! Hopefully you enjoyed learning a little more about this awesome country, and hopefully you can add a new exotic dish to your culinary repertoire!