Monday, December 20, 2010

How to Make the Perfect Pot of Moroccan Tea

Making an English pot of tea is as simple as putting the teabags, sugar and boiling water into a pot and off you go. To get the perfect pot of Moroccan tea, the technique is a little more complicated but it's worth it if you want that strong minty cup of green tea that Moroccans love to drink when they are relaxing or socializing.

Ingredients:
9 cups hot water
3 tbsp Chinese Green tea
1 handful fresh mint
Sugar to taste

Put the green tea into the bottom of your pot, and cover with a cup of boiling water. Let it steep for a few minutes, then pour this tea into a cup and set it aside. Add another cup of water to the green tea in the pot, and swirl the pot around in quick, gentle circular movements several times. Now pour this liquid into a separate glass, it should be full of tiny dark specks. Discard of this.

Add the first cup of steeped tea, the mint, sugar and 8 cups of hot water to the tea leaves in the pot. Now gently heat it until you see a few bubbles surfacing at the top. Take the pot off the heat and let it cool for a minute. Then fill a glass with a cup of the tea, and return it to the pot. Repeat this twice, it will spread the sugar evenly throughout the pot instead of settling at the bottom. Finally, pour the tea into the glass with enough distance from the pot and the glass to create bubbles when you pour it. This will take a bit of practice, but if you want to create a genuine pot of this tea, it is essential in Moroccan culture to have bubbles in their tea!

This tea goes nicely with Moroccan bread, and small plates of honey, olives, olive oil or butter on the side. Bsaha, as they say in Morocco meaning may you eat in happiness and health. :)

*If you want a stronger tea, add more green tea and during heating, let it gently simmer about 10 seconds. Saharans love their tea very dark and strong.
*If you want a weaker tea, you can reduce the amount of green tea you use, and go without heating the pot up. This will make a lighter, golden colored tea.
*Moroccans also add chamomile instead of mint, especially in the winter time. This is a great remedy for the flu.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lamb Tajine with Potato and Olives

Last Sunday I had guests over, so I made a simple yet delicious tajine with lamb, potatoes and olives. I made it in the oven and it turned out superb, so I'll give the directions for oven cooking. I didn't have a traditional tajine, so I made it in a metal pot; it turned out just as good.

LAMB TAJINE WITH POTATO AND OLIVE (serves 4-6)

2 kg curry lamb (lamb that is chopped especially for curry, in cubes)
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup cooking oil
8 potatoes
two handfuls green olives
handful chopped parsley
1 tbsp ginger powder
1 heaped tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp yellow food coloring (optional)
salt, pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Add the oil, chopped onions and lamb into the pot. Grate the garlic finely over the meat and add the parsley. Mix all the spices in a bowl with a 1/2 cup water. Pour this over the meat, and barely cover the meat in water, not pouring the water over the meat but into the side. Cover the pot with it's lid and cook in the oven about an hour or until the meat is tender, checking water levels every quarter of an hour. There should always be at least two inches in the pot by the time the meat is cooked.

Chop the potatoes into quarters, wash and place over the cooked meat. Now spoon the sauce over the potatoes to add spices and color. Sprinkle a little extra salt and pepper over the potatoes or add a little more parsley if you wish. Place back into the oven, and cook another half and hour or until the potatoes are nearly cooked. Add the olives over the top and cook several more minutes until potatoes and olives are tender.

This dish goes beautifully with Moroccan bread and a salad on the side. I was so busy I didn't get a picture of it, and I couldn't find a pic on the web to do it justice. I'll keep looking though, so you can get an idea of what this dish is supposed to look like. In the meantime, now you have a simple yet delicious recipe for entertaining guests. :)

Greetings from Down Under

It's taken me so long to get back to my blog- to find that I've gotten a dozen followers while I was away! Well what's up with me, is that I'm about to have a baby in February and I've moved to Australia. So all the settling in has taken me a while, not to mention all the medical checkups and paperwork I've had to do. Keep checking back, I'll be up and blogging again soon insha Allah - God willing!