Moroccan Morsels

One of my favorite cuisines is Moroccan. There’s something about the combination of commonly used spices that not only delivers amazing taste but comforting aromas. I was in need of comfort food and my Moroccan beef over couscous hit the spot.
Spices are used extensively in Moroccan food. While spices have been imported to Morocco for thousands of years, many ingredients, like saffron from Tiliouine, mint and olives from Meknes, and oranges and lemons from Fez, are home-grown. Common spices include karfa (cinnamon), kamoun ( cumin), kharkoum (tumeric), skingbir ( ginger), libzar (pepper) , tahmira (paprika), anis seed, sesame seed, kasbour (coriander), maadnous ( parsley), zaafrane beldi (saffron) and mint.
In Morocco, stews are often made in a shallow earthenware cooking pots called tagines. Since I don’t have a tangine, I used my crockpot as an alternative with great results!
Here’s my recipe for Moroccan Beef Stew:

2-3 lbs of beef chuck steak, cubed
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
1 1/2 cups sweet potatoes, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 can chickpeas

In a pan, add some oil and brown beef.
Combine the rest of the ingredients except chickpeas.
Place mixture in a crockpot.
Add browned beef.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high 4-6 hours.
In the last 30 minutes, add chickpeas and cook until warmed through.

I served this over couscous cooked in beef broth
and garnished the dish with chopped parsley.
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MMMMasala

I love ethnic food because its my little way of traveling the globe. So tonight I was craving some Indian flavors and decided to make Chicken Curry (also known as Murgh Masala). A Pubjabi speciality from North India, this chicken curry is fragrant with cumin and cilantro.
Here is my recipe for Murgh Masala:

4 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespon paprika
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 teaspoons ground cumin or Garam Masala
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Salt to taste
1 can of sweet peas
1 can of garbanzo beans

Heat a large pan over medium high heat.
Add a little cooking oil and saute garlic, ginger and onions.
Add chicken and saute.
Add paprika, tomatoes, tomato sauce and salt to taste.
Add water and bring to a boil.
Decrease heat and simmer, covered until chicken is cooked – about 30 mins.
Add peas and garbanzo beans.
Increase the heat and cook uncovered for 5-10 minutes.
Stir in cumin and chopped cilantro.

* I served this over couscous cooked in chicken broth with chopped cilantro.