Horny Goat Weed

Moroccan Delights & Arabian Nights – A Tantalising Taste of North Africa

Moroccan colorful plates

North Africa, Morocco, the Arabian Peninsula – locations that deliver to my thoughts Bedouin tribesmen, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, camel trains, oases surrounded by palm timber and sleeping in a Bedouin tent underneath a blinding cover of stars – uninterrupted by the sunshine air pollution of the western world. As a baby a few of my favorite tales had been the 1001 Arabian Nights tales – the setting appeared so impossibly unique and mystical, with genies rising from lamps and caves filled with treasure. There’s an otherworldly high quality to this specific space of the globe, land of whirling dervishes, stomach dancers and infinite summer season nights the place the air hangs heavy with alluring scents of jasmine and orange blossom.

It solely stands to cause {that a} continent brimming with such exoticness would have advanced a equally unique style in meals. In keeping with Paula Wolfert, Japanese Delicacies Specialist and Writer:

“To my thoughts, 4 issues are needed earlier than a nation can develop an excellent delicacies.

The primary is an abundance of positive components from a wealthy land.

The second is a wide range of cultural influences: the historical past of the nation, together with its domination by overseas powers and the culinary secrets and techniques it has introduced again from its personal imperialist adventures.

Third, an excellent civilisation. If a rustic has not had its day within the solar, its delicacies will in all probability not be nice. Nice meals and nice civilisation go collectively.

Final, the existence of a refined palace life. With out royal kitchens, with no Versailles or a forbidden metropolis in Peking, with out, in brief, the calls for of a cultivated court docket, the imaginations of a nation’s cooks won’t be challenged.

Morocco, happily, is blessed with all 4.”

Morocco – Land of the Setting Solar

And so we begin our journey in what some consult with as a land of extraordinary contrasts – Morocco. One of the crucial spiritually numerous international locations on the planet, Morocco is residence to many religions. It has realigned itself as a recent, tolerant society that blends Islamic, European, and North African influences. It’s a nation of spectacle and color with a wealthy and satisfying delicacies, and a millennia-old historical past of conquerors and nomads.

Severe about their meals, a Moroccan proverb says: “Mâ kainsh el-kalâm cala ettacâm” – “The place there may be meals, there isn’t any speaking.”

The gastronomy of this nation is spicy and attractive, incorporating a wealthy mix of fragrant spices and Mediterranean herbs into the Muslim cooking custom. Maybe probably the most well-known dishes to emerge from Morocco is the Tagine. Taking its identify from the earthenware pot by which it’s cooked, the tagine has a conical high so the water and juices aren’t misplaced throughout cooking – an necessary consideration in desert areas the place there are few water sources.

Impressed by this infamous Berber dish, we created our personal:

A mildly spiced bitter/candy dish that has many wealthy textures and contrasting flavours

Vegan Chickpea Tagine

This dish makes use of chickpeas as its fundamental ingredient – fibre wealthy and protein packed, chickpeas are one of many unsung heroes of the superfood world. Their fibre is insoluble, making them nice for digestive well being and blood sugar regulation. Filled with important nutritional vitamins and minerals, chickpeas have been part of sure conventional diets for over 7,500 years and are nonetheless eaten by a number of the healthiest populations around the globe at this time! A 200g portion of cooked chickpeas gives a whopping 57% of your every day consumption of Magnesium, a significant mineral that provides the “spark of life” to your metabolic capabilities and is concerned in over 300 enzymatic processes within the physique. Not solely that, loaded with fibre and protein, they improve satiety and include a fats burning starch referred to as “resistant starch” making them one of many healthiest meals for weight reduction. Including a candy distinction to the spicy, savoury style of the opposite components are apricots and dates – each fruits are famend for his or her wealthy fibre content material, making this scrumptious meal tremendous straightforward on the digestive system.

Additionally utilizing these surprise beans as the primary ingredient is our:

A scrumptious dip with a tangy kick – an ideal snack to get pleasure from with carrots, roasted garlic and breadsticks

Vegan Hummus

Arabian Peninsula

Dwelling to the aforementioned “1001 Arabian Nights”, Arabic delicacies is a mix of Mediterranean, Center Japanese and Indian meals. An attention-grabbing mixture to say the least.

With some endearing traditions surrounding meals, a captivating saying right here is “Tafathalo”, that means “do me the honour”, which is an invite to come back to the desk.

The Lebanese are famend within the Center East for his or her “Muzzah” – small dishes which might be served earlier than the primary meal. Essentially the most well-known of those is, doubtless:

A smoky, tangy and refreshing Aubergine dip

Baba ganoush

Like many ethnic dishes, types of baba ganoush change relying on location, it’s one thing of a “transitional” dish that has made its method into Greek and different Mediterranean cuisines. Believed to be native to North Africa and the Center East, the standard aubergine is widely known on this scrumptious dip. Low in fats and excessive in fibre, aubergines are additionally wealthy in “anthocyanins” – that is the explanation their skins boast a deep purple color. Powerfully antioxidant, these plant flavonoids have demonstrated the power to guard in opposition to a myriad of ailments and are linked to an amazingly broad vary of well being advantages. Quite a few research affirm they maintain the liver wholesome, enhance mind operate and shield the center.

One other widespread ingredient used on this a part of the world is the rose petal. Rose petals are excessive in vitamin C, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Usually brewed into a fragile tea, we took this one stage additional and gave it a deliciously attention-grabbing twist:

Candy, moreish, delectable and scrumptious mix of flavours

Rose Smoothie

The rose is a distinguished flavour right here – roses have been prized for hundreds of years for his or her fragrant nature and talent to appease and calm the thoughts. They’re in reality a staple in Ayurvedic drugs to detoxify and calm. An additional dietary enhance additionally comes from the pomegranate seeds – one of many healthiest fruits on earth, they include some highly effective plant compounds which have potent medicinal properties. Pomegranate accommodates a novel and highly effective antioxidant referred to as punicalagin, essentially the most plentiful antioxidant in pomegranate – not solely will it simply quell free radicals, it’s strongly anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. 

Egypt – Dwelling of the Falafel

Sure it’s the nation of Pharaohs, pyramids and mummies that lays declare to the invention of this well-loved spicy snack. The identify falafel is assumed to have come from the Arabic phrase for spicy – “mefelfel”.  

With a historical past stretching again 1000’s of years, the Historical Egyptians left proof of their love of meals within the type of well-preserved wall work and carvings found on tombs and temples, depicting massive feasts and a wide range of meals. While they beloved their spices, the staples of the Historical Egyptians had been bread and beer – and never the beer we all know and love at this time – with a gruel like consistency it was very cloudy and contained stable chunks. Extremely nutritious, Egyptian beer was an necessary supply of protein, nutritional vitamins and minerals and deemed so invaluable that beer jars had been typically used as a measurement of worth.

Nevertheless, again to the falafels – though the Egyptians historically use fava beans, we used a mix of cannellini beans and good previous chickpeas to create these gently spiced falafels with a superfood twist:

Candy and spicy snack with a slight after kick – delicious in a wrap with salad


The sweetness of this dish owes because of the addition of Beetroot Powder. Beetroots are tremendous wholesome and popularly recognized to be an distinctive meals for the blood, with a selected impact within the reducing of hypertension. This profit doubtless comes from the naturally occurring nitrates in beetroots, that are transformed into nitric oxide within the physique. Nitric oxide, in flip, helps to chill out and dilate blood vessels, enhancing blood circulation thus reducing blood stress. Beets are additionally a novel supply of betaine, a nutrient that helps to guard cells, proteins and enzymes from environmental stress. It is also recognized to assist struggle irritation and shield inner organs. These fabulously spicy/candy wraps will make a tasty, wholesome addition to your lunchbox or summer season picnic hamper.

Persevering with on the Egyptian theme, hibiscus, particularly from Higher Egypt, is very prized and the dried calyces used to make hibiscus tea have a fantastic pungent, tart odour. Hibiscus tea was a beverage of selection for pharaohs in historical Egypt. To spherical off our North African journey of tantalising tastes, attempt our:

Zingy and refreshing with a fruity kick – summer season in a cup!

Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus flower tea is created from the dried calyces of the hibiscus flower. The calyces include excessive ranges of antioxidants, particularly quercetin and anthocyanins – these necessary alkaloids will search out and destroy free radicals, defending the physique from oxidative stress. It has been historically utilized in North Africa to assist higher respiratory well being and is used to normalise blood stress in Iran. Wealthy in vitamin C, minerals and antioxidants, hibiscus tea has been acknowledged in each early custom and trendy science as a treatment to calm nervous problems, lower irritation and pace up metabolism. 

The North African/Arabian Peninsula isn’t solely residence to a number of the tastiest dishes – it’s residence to a number of the healthiest too. Morocco, with its spice markets, souks and delicately spiced dishes, Arabia and the Center East – with a few of its meals courting again to the cradle of civilisation, went on to provide an extremely wealthy delicacies. All of those great continents we have explored on this International Kitchen sequence make their very own distinctive contribution to our understanding and appreciation of how meals has influenced every tradition. Not solely that – they’ve at all times contained a wealth of pure superfoods and herbs which have been included of their dishes for millenia. Fortunately the Western world is lastly catching up! 

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