Moroccan Foods with Chef Susan Holding

Moroccan Date Cake

½ cup butter

¼-1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup unbleached white flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmet

½ tsp ground cloves

½ cup milk

½ vanilla extract

1 cup pitted dates, chopped

½ cup chopped walnuts 

Preheat Oven to 325.  Cream together  butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs.  Combine baking powder, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, beating well.   Mix in the milk and vanilla.  Beat well.  Add the chopped dates and walnuts and stir again to distribute.  Butter and flour an  8-9 inch cake pan.  Pour batter into the pan.  Bake for 30 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.  Serve with fresh whipped cream. 

From:  Sundays at the Moosewood Restaurant (Collective, 1990) 


Harira is considered the national soup of Morocco and can be eaten as meal, on its own.   This hearty soup is served when breaking the fast of Ramadan. 

1 cup chopped onions

2 celery stalks, diced

3 TBS vegetable oil

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp coriander seeds

½ tsp cinnamon

1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 small potato

1 small carrot, chopped

4 small tomatoes, chopped

1 cup tomato juice

4 cups vegetable stock

1 small zucchini, finely chopped

½ cup vermicelli, crumbled

1 can chick peas

¼ cup lemon juice (fresh)

Salt and pepper to taste 

Chopped parsley

Fresh mint leaves

Red bell pepper or pimiento strips 

In a soup pot, sauté the onions and celery in the oil until onions are translucent.  And the spices, potatoes, carrots and cook about 5 minutes.  Mix in the chopped tomatoes, juice, and chick pea liquid and simmer until the vegetable are tender. 

Add the zucchini and vermicelli and simmer for about 5 minutes longer.  Mix in the chick peas, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with chopped parsley, mint leaves, and strips of red pepper of pimiento. (Collective, 1990) 

Vegetable Tajine

Moroccan Stew 

Stews are one of the finest features of North African cooking.  Dishes are cooked in a cone-shaped ceramic pot called a tajine.  Saffron gives it a unique taste.  Vegetable tajines can be served with bread of on a bead of couscous. 

Serves 4-6

1 ½ cups chopped onions

3 garlic cloves

1/3 cup olive oil

1 tsp dried thyme

3 cups cubed potatoes

1 cup chopped green beans

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 cups cubed tomatoes (fresh if possible)

3 cups vegetable stock

13 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and halved (reserve brine)

½ cup pitted black olives

Pint of saffron

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley


Slivered almonds

Salt and pepper to taste 

Sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil.  Add the thyme, potatoes, green beans, bell pepper, and tomatoes, cook on med-hi hear for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the stock and brine from the artichokes and simmer, covered until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. 

Stir in the artichoke hearts, and the black olives, and the pinch of saffron.  Simmer for another 5-10 minutes.  Add the lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper.  Serve with bread of on couscous with chopped almonds. (Collective, 1990) 


Orange and Olive Salad 

4 oranges

20 black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

½ tsp group cumin

¼  Hungarian paprika

Minced fresh flat leaf parsley  and lettuce leaves 

With a sharp knife cut off the top and bottom of the orange.  Cut of the peel and and cut between the membranes on each segment to release the segment.  Remove any seeds.  Cut each segment into 3 pieces.  Combine olives, cumin and paprika.  Mix with oranges. Line a bowl with lettuce, top with orange salad, garnish with parsley and serve. 

K’Seksoo Mitdija

Chicken Couscous with Raisins, Almonds, and Pine Nuts 

2 T olive oil

3 pounds chicken pieces

4 onions chopped

3 garlic cloves

4 tomatoes

3 red bell peppers, seeded and quartered

Cilantro (10 springs)

Flat leaf parsley (20 sprigs)

1 tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ground cinnamon

10 threads saffron

1 tsp turmeric

10 cups water

¼ cup pine nuts

2 T butter

½ cup whole blanched almonds, toasted

Harissa (garlic chile sauce) for serving.  Recipe follows 

In a large soup pot heat olive oil and cook chicken until golden about 3-4 minutes.  Add onions through 8 cups water and simmer 45 minutes.   

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  With a slotted spoon, remove chicken and peppers.  Put in overproof dish and cover  to keep warm.  Discard the parsley and cilantro.  Add the raisins and ½ of the pine nuts.  Season with salt and pepper. 

Bring remaining 2 cups of water to a boil.  Add butter and couscous.  Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork. 

To serve mound the couscous on a large platter.  Garnish with toasted almones and remaining pine nuts.  Arrange the chicken and peppers around the base of the couscous, Serve with soup broth and harissa on the side. (Morse, 1998) 


12 dried Chilies (ancho, pasilla or chipotles – add dried habanero or Thai dried chili for extra heat)

4 garlic cloves

½ cup olive oil

1 tsp salt or to taste

1 tsp ground cumin or to taste 

Wearing rubber gloves, open the chilies and remove the seeds.  With a scissors, cut the chilies into small pieces.  Place in a bowl of warm water and soak until they soften, 25-30 minutes. 

Squeeze the water for the chilies.  Place them in a blender with the garlic, olive oil, salt and cumin.  Process until smooth.  Transfer to a clean pint jar.  Cover with a thin layer of oil.  Use within 6 months. 

Note:  Commercial harissa is available in cans or tubes in some large supermarkets and Middle Eastern markets.  (Red Rooster Sauce).  (Morse, 1998) 


Morse, K. (1998). Cooking at the Kasbah. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books LLC.

The Moosewood Collective. (1990). Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant. New York, New York: Simon and Schuster


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s