Thinking of hosting a dinner party or summer BBQ event? A Moroccan flavour mix could come in handy. The smokey flavour would add a fresh explosion of flavour to chicken, lamb, duck and fish. This flavour mix could pass easily for Mexican/Indian, but it is fused with spices of different origins. It is widely used in South Asian, Indian, Latin American and North African cuisine. So I will say we stick to calling it a Moroccan flavour mix but whichever name you deem fit is perfectly fine.
Here are the spices that you will need for the flavour mix:
This spice is easily one of my favourite spices. I love the deep aroma of dry-roasted cumin that intensifies when used as a spice in food. It is pure bliss. In place of seeds, one can use cumin powder that has not gone cupboard stale.
Want to know one of my go-to seeds for my private catering for smoked chipotle beef? Coriander seeds! It is one of my secret recipes for my private catering. They are known for their musky floral scent and are great with fish and meat. The seeds are better roasted.
Coriander is usually considered a Mexican or Indian herb but is widely used in North Africa and has become a lost American staple. You can see the Mexican/Latino influence here. Coriander and parsley are like the staple herbs of the world. This bright green fresh-tasting herb when used, gives a tantalizing piquancy, especially when used with seafood fish and most meats. It is the perfect garnish for curries.
Black pepper powder is gotten from black peppercorns. I toast the peppercorns to get a fresh flavour and blitz the seeds to the size of my choice. I prefer the powder coarsely ground. This seasoning blends well with meat.
The smaller the chili, the hotter it is – so they say. When making a choice on chilies to use, ensure you know how hot the chilies get so that you can regulate the amount that you will add to your mix. If you do not have whole dried chilies, use chili powder.
You can choose to use smaller cloves but for this mix, I use the big bulb variety. The smaller ones are more fetid, so I personally prefer the bigger cloves.
Saffron is best suited for light meats and rice dishes. Though saffron – handpicked threads/stigmas of the saffron crocus flower – is considered to be the world’s most expensive spice, the nice fragrance, earthiness and golden hue that it adds to dishes make it worth the cost. It is used when making Spanish Paella.
Black Sesame Seeds
The black sesame seeds are very much Asian but then again, that does not really matter. I wanted the mix to have a subtle nuttiness and smudges of black running through.
To break everything down nicely, it is important that you use rock or sea type of salt as it is a great abrasive and it creates a great flavour. Real sea or rock salt can make a huge difference.
Place the spices in a baking tray or a non-stick pan for easy removal and roast in the oven for a few minutes. After light roasting, place the spice in a mortar and mash with a small hand pestle till it forms a paste. Lightly toast all the spices in a dry, preferably non-stick pan for easy removal. Then, using a small hand pestle and mortar, mash them together till a paste is formed.
After it forms a paste, add the Moroccan mix to some lamb ribs. Lamb and Morocco are the perfect fit. Add some sliced onions, some plum tomatoes, a few tablespoons of harissa pepper, and braise for an hour or so.
It is also perfect with chicken, lamb chops, pork, and beef. When making a stew, it can be used as a seasoning to attain a different taste. The flavour mix is also a great spice rub for outdoor grilling and BBQ. Enjoy!
Extract from Shalom Truths Magazine (Africa Edition)
Celebrity Chef Gbubemi Fregene popularly called Chef Fregz is a culinary expert who studied Human Resource Management in the University but decided to pursue his passion. He currently runs his own catering business – Chef Fregz Catering. He has cooked on various world platforms.