A taste of Morocco

In Recipes on April 9, 2012 at 2:51 am

Moroccan food is spicy with cumin, coriander and sumac but it is not usually searingly hot with chilli, this makes it a good choice for those who are not fans of hot food.  Another favourite seasoning is preserved lemons – these can be easily and cheaply made yourself if you have a lemon tree or you can buy them.  When using preserved lemons the flesh is discarded and the rind and pith are finely chopped – use them sparingly as they are very strong.  Most Moroccan meals are incomplete without the staple starch cous cous, once made from millet but now made with durum wheat.  This is generally steamed for hours in a special vessel  known in French as a couscoussiere.  The instant cous cous that is widely available in shops has been pre-steamed which means it only takes five minutes to prepare.  This makes it a quick and easy side dish to accompany a meal.

Moroccan chicken with roasted vegetables and cous cous

Moroccan chicken with cous cous


1 free range chicken portioned into eight pieces

For the marinade:

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 1/2 tsp coriander

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp sumac

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 tsp ras el hanout*

1 tsp dried mint

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp sea salt

juice of 1 lemon

2 tbs sunflower oil

1 tsp honey

For the vegetables and cous cous:

2 zucchinis (thickly sliced)

1 sweet potato (cubed)

2 carrots (cubed)

2 tbs sunflower oil

1 cup instant cous cous

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp sumac

1 tbs sunflower oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup boiling water

2tbs chopped fresh mint

2 tbs chopped coriander

2 tbs finely sliced spring onion (green part only)

rind and pith of 1/2 a preserved lemon (finely chopped)

knob of butter


In a large bowl mix all the marinade ingredients together.  Add the chicken pieces and make sure they are all well coated with the mixture.  Refrigerate for at least two hours.  Heat the oven to 220c.  Place the chicken pieces on a rack in a large baking dish, spoon over any remaining marinade.  Roast for 20 mins on the top shelf of the oven.   Meanwhile, toss the vegetables in 2 tbs oil and season well with salt and pepper and tumble into a baking dish.  Move chicken pieces down to second shelf and cook the vegetables on the top shelf for twenty minutes.  Reduce heat to 180c and move the chicken back up to the top shelf, placing the vegetables on the second shelf.  Cook for a further 20-25 mins or until chicken is cooked (the juices run clear) and vegetables are tender.  Mix the cous cous with the dried spices and 1 tbs oil, add boiling water and allow to stand, covered for 5 mins.  Remove cover, add the knob of butter and fluff the cous cous with a fork until all the grains are separate.  Add the fresh herbs, preserved lemon and spring onion.  Serve on a large platter in the middle of the table and allow guests to help themselves.

* see in June The Road to Morocco for ras el hanout recipe

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