Moroccan flavors favor the spices used in Indian cooking like coriander, saffron and cumin. I love these aromatic spices and the heavenly aroma. I own a beautiful clay tagine bought from a friend who carried it from Morocco, It makes such a beautiful presentation and keeps the dish juicy and moist.
A tajine or tagine is a Maghrebi dish which is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. The pot has a unique conical shape which helps make your dish moist by letting the steam rise, condense and trickle back down into the shallow base.
I used my tagine right on the burner but have experimented with putting it directly in the oven at 300 degree F. Of course then you can’t see the beautiful pot simmering on your stove 🙂
The spices are simple, ground coriander, cumin, cayenne and some ras-el-hanout if you have it.
Onions are a must in a tagine using them as a bed for the chicken. I have used organic chicken breasts here but bone-in chicken would be more moist.
If you don’t have the preserved lemons, you can skip them. The marinated olive gives this dish enough tanginess.
This is a true fusion dish blending the flavors of Kashmir with Persian cooking. The fennel and dried ginger in the meatballs is so delicate yet intense. Good minced lamb is best but you can use any combination of lamb, beef and veal. I added a 1/2 amount ground turkey to make it lighter but you can make it all lamb.
Persian cooking gives us Kalam Polo which is a hearty meal made with white cabbage, beef meatballs and rice. I have been inspired by this and the spices used in Kashmiri cuisine to make this dish.
For readers who follow my blog you know I love saffron and often think of the fields in Kashmir that grow this beautifully purple flower harvested just within a few weeks for its incredible color and flavor. Check out Kashmir Box if you need to buy this right from the fields.
Use white cabbage in this dish to absorb the golden saffron color, you will not miss the rice so this version is carb free. Cut the cabbage finely so it cooks quickly and evenly. The turmeric and saffron with give it the beautiful color and flavor.
I still had coconut left over from when I made the Coconut Almond Butter Clusters. Burfi is a true Indian sweet make with reducing milk (and products) thereby intensifying the taste and flavor. I still remember standing in narrow side streets in India waiting for the fresh Khoya Burfi plates which would easily be devoured in minutes…this was of course a teenage appetite which has now changed to moderation 🙂
This recipe is made with sweetened condensed milk so no added sugar is needed. The trick is to cook it down to a lumpy consistency so it can set properly.
The rose petals are optional but I had bought a batch of organic edible dried petals so getting some use out of them.
I also kept the coconut a little crushed and not ground to a fine powder…..just the way I like it so I can taste the coconut pieces. I soaked the coconut for an hour in Almond Milk but you could go regular milk.
Grind the coconut in a processor and then soak in Almond Milk for a hour
Grind/Crush the Almonds
Soak the Saffron strands in 1 tbsp of warm water
Crush about 9 green cardamom pods to get the powder
Add 2 tbsp of Ghee to a heavy bottomed pan, add almonds and fry for a minute
Add soaked coconutand cardamom powder and cook down for about 2-3 minutes.
Add about 6-7 tablespoons of condensed milk, rose water, 1/2 tsp rose petals and start to cook and medium heat.
In a couple of minutes reduce the heat to low, add 1 tbsp of ghee, saffron and continue to cook until then mixture in lumpy and separated from the oil. This requires stirring and making sure the mixture is not sticking to the bottom of the pan about 5-10 mins.
Pour in a ghee greased pan ( I used silicone) and sprinkle with crushed rose petals and let it cool down. You can slice now and put in the fridge for 30 mins.
The pieces can be stored in a air tight container in the fridge for a few days.
The sweetness of the onions, the mellowness of the yoghurt, the liveliness of the spices and the fragrance of the saffron…are all a dance on your tastebuds. My love for saffron and wholes spice come from growing up in a cross culture cuisine of North India where the cuisines are decidedly different as you move through the states.
This vegetarian cheese(Paneer) dish actually comes from flavors that are used in meat dishes. You can use homemade cheese which is softer and preferred. I used the block I bought from the local Asian store which is firmer.
Here is what you need:
A block of Paneer ( cheese) cut in cubes ( about 3 cups). Marinated for an hour in a smooth blend of the following:
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tsp turmeric
1tsp red chili or paprika ( paprika will give some color)
1/2 onion crushed
4 cloves of garlic crushed
1 tsp cumin pwd
2 tbsp ghee or oil
2 large onions sliced
2 inch cinnamon stick
4 green cardamons
1 black cardamon
4 whole peppercorns
1 tsp turmeric pwd
1 -2 green chillies
1 tablespoon coriander pwd
2 tsp fresh garlic ginger paste
a pinch of saffron soaked in warm water
Putting it together:
Let the cheese marinate for an hour. Use a mortar and pestle to crush cinnamon, cardamons, cloves, peppercorns.
Add ghee to a heavy bottomed pan and add the crushed spices. Add the onions and fry everything until soft and browned. Add garlic ginger paste, green chili, turmeric and coriander. Add the marinated paneer and let it all cook until the oil separates on the sides. Add saffron water and turn off the heat in a minute or two.