Cooling cucumber salad with mint

A refreshing salad, lovely in colour and in taste. The touch of cumin gives it a nice twist, as well as helps with digestion. This salad is recommended as an accompaniment to spicy food, such as curry, since all its ingredients are soothing to the stomach.

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To prepare, simply sprinkle cucumbers with lime juice, olive oil, fresh mint, a dash of salt and another one of cumin.

Enjoy!

Traditional Moroccan tea

Moroccan tea is made with mint and/or peppermint leaves, both known as na’na’ (نعناع) in Arabic. It should be served in glasses, traditionally only half of the glass is filled so that it can be held from its upper part. Here, you will find the traditional way of making it, and a few of its variations.

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The traditional way: 
1- Rince the silver teapot with hot water.
2- For about six glasses, place one generous tablespoon of high quality dried green tea in the teapot. I like to use the Chinese “gunpowder” tea. Put a little bit of hot water and let the dry tea twirl at the bottom of the teapot.
3- Add a generous amount of fresh and washed mint and/or peppermint leaves, leaving them on their stem. Add hot water to the rim of the teapot.
4- Mix well with a spoon in the teapot. Let it stand for five minutes and serve.

Note on the water: The water should be boiled then allowed to rest until the ebullition process is finished. If you pour boiling water it could burn the leaves and the tea will not be as refined.

Note on the use of sugar: In Morocco, tea is traditionally served sweet, sugar being added directly in the teapot. The further South you go, the sweeter it gets, getting almost syrupy in the Sahara region. It has to do with the dry and hot weather, and the effect of sugar on the body. So if you go to Morocco and dislike sugar, remember to ask for tea without sugar before it is prepared.

Some variations I like: 
– I sometimes add dried rose petals to the mix, or a few drops of Safran liquid, or replace the green tea with verneine, or not put any green tea at all.
– Try any combination you like, but please never add milk, it would be offensive to the delicacy of the leaves. And please, try using a glass or at the very least, a nice teacup, and definitely not a mug! Enjoy!

Moroccan Kefta with tiny tomatoes

Using tiny organic tomatoes and the usual spices to make Moroccan Kefta.

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For 500 gr of high quality ground beef 
1- Wash and cut in half 500 gr of very small organic tomatoes.
2- Place in a pan with some olive oil and add a teaspoon of crushed black pepper, a teaspoon of turmeric, a teaspoon of cumin, two or three garlic cloves crushed, and some fresh ginger root also crushed.
3- Mix, cook on low fire and cover.
4- In the meantime, make the very little balls of meat between the palm of your hands. The smaller the better (about one to one and half cm in diameter).
5- When the tomatoes have released some of their liquid, add the Kefta and a generous bunch of fresh cilantro chopped. Mix and cover again.
6- Cook for about 15 minutes.

Serve with white rice and a salade. 

Note: Here a variation on the same Kefta recipe. This one has more sauce.

T’mar bi el-baid – dates with eggs

Dates with eggs is a Moroccan dish eaten for breakfast or as a light meal. It is filled with nutrients so it is also eaten during Ramadan (the Muslim fasting period) just before sunrise. The same dish can also be found in other parts of the Middle East such as in Iran. The mix of salty and sweet is simply delicious. I served it for lunch with cardamon and turmeric scented Basmati rice with raisins, topped with fresh cilantro.

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1- Place a little bit of butter in a pan.
2- Add a handful of dates cut in small pieces. Cook on very low fire and wait about three minutes for the dates to soften.
3- Add one or two eggs and mix them just a little bit so that the yolk breaks. Do not scramble them, just let them cook gently.
4- Sprinkle with cumin and salt and serve immediately.

Tuna tostada Moroccan style

Fusion some may call it. I’ll just call it delicious.

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For one steak of fresh Tuna
1- Cut the Tuna in cubes while it is slightly frozen, that will prevent it from shredding under the knife.
2- In a bowl mix: red and yellow organic tomatoes cut in cubes, one cucumber cut in cubes, half a red onion cut in small pieces, some fresh ginger root shredded, freshly ground pepper, cumin, either lime juice or better yet some Lemoon Mraqad, some high quality virgin olive oil, and fresh mint leaves.
3- Cover the Tuna cubes with sesame seeds and fry in a little bit of olive oil for about 10 minutes.
4- Mix the cooked Tuna with the tomato mix and serve immediately on tostadas (oven baked corn tortillas).

Enjoy with a nice Tequila!