March 5, 2010

From Beautiful Morocco...

If you are new to my blog, please read my Welcome Note first.

I love Morocco and love Moroccan is one of the finest from Al-Maghreb Al-Arabi -the Arabic Maghreb also known as North Africa...

Moroccan food is delicate and I love the sweet and sour mix that you find in some of their recipes like beef tajine with dried plums and almonds...

But tonight's recipe is much simpler and very easy to's chicken with vermicelli presented like a dome...

For those who don't know what vermicelli is - it's a short hair like - pasta.

I have slightly modified the recipe for convenience's sake and instead of using a whole chicken, I prepare it with shredded chicken, also called emincé in French. Am not sure what the equivalent in English is. This is easier to cook and takes much less time.

So for 2 persons you will need the following :

- about 300-350 grms of shredded chicken strips (boneless and skinless obviously)
- 2 1/2 cups of vermicelli, the point is to have enough vermicelli to cover all the chicken...and am not so great with measurements as I hardly use them add more vermicelli if you think the quantity is not sufficient enough to cover your chicken.
- 1 medium size onion
- 1/4 tsp of saffron powder
- 1/4 tsp ginger powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
- 2 tbs of olive oil
- fresh grated ginger (optional)
- salt
- pepper
- a knob of butter
- 1 cube of chicken stock
- caster sugar/powder sugar the one used for pastries (as far as I know it's not the same as icing sugar and regular white sugar WILL NOT DO you will see why, later..)

You will need a deep pan for the chicken

- chop onions finely and stir fry it in the olive oil until tender
- add your chicken strips, your cinnamon, saffron, and ginger, salt and pepper...I also grate some fresh ginger because I love ginger and the mix of saffron and ginger is just stupendous...
- the heat must be high, and your chicken must be brown and well cooked.

in the meantime you need to prepare the vermiccelli.

- boiling water with 1 cube of chicken stock and a drop of olive oil. Vermicelli cooks very fast, max 3 mn, but it should not be al dente, it must be soft but not gooey. so keep heat medium.
- this dish must be served HOT, so you need to heat your chicken, and use a tbs of your vermicelli water and sprinkle it on the chicken so it will not dry up.
- strain your vermicelli adding a knob of butter, use a fork
- place half of your pasta in a deep dish, add your chicken, then cover it with more pasta to make it look like a dome...

Sprinkle cinnamon powder and then some caster sugar on top of your dome...and that's it !

Best accompanied with a carrot salad, Moroccan style and I will give you the recipe for it.

Again for 2 persons.

- shredded carrots
- about 10 black olives
- half an orange
- half a lime or lemon
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/2 tbs sesame seeds (optional but preferable)
- a touch of ground cumin
- olive oil (1/2 tbs to 1 tbs)

squeeze half an orange, squeeze half a lemon or lime (I prefer lime)
grate a bit of lime /lemon -- zest to add flavor
mix your orange juice and lemon juice and zest with the olive oil, add the cinnamon, a bit of cumin, salt and pepper and pour the dressing over your carrots and black olives. mix well

Black olives here are very salty so I hardly add salt myself.

Meanwhile roast in small frying pan till light brown your sesame seeds and then sprinkle them pver the salad mix.

Finish off with a nice glass of Moroccan tea (green tea plus lots of fresh mint)

And while preparing this very tasty dish, it is recommended to listen to some lovely music, like this traditional Moroccan song...