Salad of sardines, mangos and rose petals

A delight in taste and colours!

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This salad is really simple to make. Just gather together these ingredients. Make sure they are all very fresh: high quality canned Sardines (plain), arugula, small tomatoes cut in half, mangos cut in cubes, some fresh ginger root grated, lime juice, freshly crushed pepper and mint leaves.

Sprinkle with dried rose petals and serve with fresh bread.

Enjoy!

Peanuts with turmeric

A wonderful Persian snack found in all dry goods markets in Iran. It is really delicious and very healthy. Sometimes I mix in some raisins just before serving it, as I like the sweet and salty taste combination.

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1- Either roast the peanuts -spread them on an oven tray and roast them at high temperature for a few minutes-; or buy them.
2- For 250 gr of roasted peanuts add three teaspoons of coarse sea salt (unless the ones you bought are already salty) and two teaspoons of turmeric. Mix well. Given that peanuts are oily, they will start absorbing the turmeric. Keep mixing until all the peanuts have a yellow colour.

Keep them in a glass container and eat with pleasure! 

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.

Yellow Mung Dahl

A nice change from the usual lentils – Yellow Mung Dahl is a split lentil without its skin. It is easy to cook and filled with vitamins. There are many recipes available and here I made one with mustard seeds and Madras curry. I served it with white Basmati rice and Raita (plain yoghurt with cucumbers, cumin and fresh mint).

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For one cup of Dahl:
1- Clean then wash the lentils thoroughly until the water comes out clear. Let it stand in water for a few hours.

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2- In a large pan place some olive oil and add: one and half teaspoon of mustard seeds crushed, one and half teaspoon of Madras curry, a teaspoon of crushed black pepper, some fresh ginger root crushed according to your taste, and half a stick of cinnamon.
3- When the aroma of the spices comes out, add the Dahl with the water, and more water until covering it. Mix in one tablespoon of brown sugar and some salt.
4- Let it come to a boil and bring to a simmer. Cook 30 to 40 minutes until it is soft. Add water during the cooking if you see it is drying.

Take out the cinnamon stick and sprinkle with fresh mint and fresh coriander when serving.