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Helen Bach.
8/1/2017 05:16pm
Moroccan Aab gosht

strange title? Let me explain. Together with Indian food, I like Moroccan food too, no surprise, really, as they both can trace influences to Persia. And a dish like aab gosht is truly multi-national, now.

Although I don't have an authentic recipe for lamb and apricot tagine (loads of made up ones abound on the interweb, most containing tomatoes!) I decided to have a go using traditional Moroccan cooking ideas. We were in Morocco in March last year, so we have a rough benchmark.

Started with coating the lamb shoulder with spices, including ras el hanout (a kind of garam masala, but containing up to 100 different spices) and Argan oil we bought in a village in the Atlas mountains. Left this to marinate for a while. Started the tagine with cooking a couple of onions, garlic and ginger in some sunflower oil, then added the meat on top, fresh apricots, half a preserved lemon (home preserved, flavour like Indian lime or lemon pickle), and dashes of rose water and mulberry molasses, the latter not so Moroccan, but there to counter the sharpness of other ingredients.

Cooked in one of our tagines for a couple of hours on very low heat. No water is added (or tins of tomatoes!) but there is enough water exuded from the meat and fruit to nearly overflow the tagine base! so beware.

My partner won't be back until 8pm or so, so that I have stopped cooking it now, and I will get some cous cous on in time, and finish it off in the steamer (couscousier).

I will report on flavour and any criticisms later, I hope.

Mamta
9/1/2017 07:08am

Sounds very nice Helen. I too experimented with Moroccan recipes when I came back from Morocco and they are really nice. I make ras el hanout occasionally still, really nice flavours. I can smell you lamb from here, I bet it was delicious :0

There was one thing I ate in Morocco. that I have never been able to find recipe for; it was a beetroot pie, deep filled with grated beet and not sure what else to flavour it, with short crust pastry. I have never been able to find a recipe for that.

Helen Bach
9/1/2017 03:27pm

well, that was probably the best meal I have ever had. Everything was excellent, even the cous cous (finished in a steamer) was wonderful. Only slight criticism was that the lamb was a little fatty, so next time we'll get a leaner cut, otherwise each mouthful took us right back to Morocco, so flavours were spot on.

On the subject of ras el hanout, I bought (at great expense) several variations when in Marrakech, and several more on-line on my return. There is a red one which is said to contain 1% rose petals. However, the Moroccan ones I bought were whole spice offerings, and although I could identify most of the ingredients, some I couldn't. The other day, I managed to identify the last one, and it turned out to be Persian hogweed or golpar. Very aromatic but a little bitter.

I was looking through a cook book called Persiana, by Sarina Gyayour (ISBN 9781845339104). It is essentially about Iranian food, but has many recipes influenced by Morocco and India, although I am sure the original influence was the other way around. It is so enlightening to find many 'Indian food' words have been derived from Persian influences roots. Bread and cheese in Persian is naan and paneer. Then there are the pilau and biryanis, and dam pokht dishes, all from Perian influences.

I am not aware of the beetroot pie of which you speak. Only thing I know is the b'stilla, a mix of chicken (though traditionally pigeon) egg and almonds, in a sweet and savoury combination, in a filo pastry case. It may have been the forerunner of the Cornish (and Devon) pasty. We had this at one of the dubious eating stalls in the huge square in Marrakech. Once eaten, never forgotten, redolent with orange blossom water, which pervaded even the Riad we stayed in.

Happy new year, Mamta, and to all your family.

Mamta
10/1/2017 06:42am

I have always collected recipes on my trips and then played with them to suit us. Isn't it lovely when you can reproduce that special taste.

Dum Pukht , as it is called in India, is also very tasty and indeed with a Persian influence.

Paneer, I thought, was Indian, but Naan indeed comes from Middle East

Indian food, especially north Indian food, has many dishes influenced by Persian/middle eastern dishes, brought in by travellers and invading Mogul soldiers and kings.

I had the Beetroot pie in a very busy restaurant near the entrance to Marrakesh square. It looked something like this, but much neater looking and TASTY!

https://goo.gl/cGj210

Helen Bach
10/1/2017 07:36pm

if it is not Moroccan, it may be French, as the French colonial influences still linger, as you will remember, no doubt. Can also be made as a tarte tatin.

I love beetroot, I'm eating beetroot crisps as I type, and made pickled beetroot (and red beets) for Christmas. The red beets lost their colour almost immediately (as did the purple/red carrots), but not their flavour (pickles as in vinegar, not Indian!)

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