Moroccan Stew {Recipe}

ACraftyArab Moroccan Stew Recipe

This Moroccan Stew is my go to meal for fall.

 

I love the ease of making it and how it makes my house smell all day long as it’s cooking in the crock pot.

 

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs lab stew meat cut into cubes
1 onion
1 celery stack
1 medium carrot
4 medium diced tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1 / 2 cup raisain
1 cup broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

ACraftyArab Moroccan Stew Recipe
Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker and set to 4-5 hours low or 8-10 hours low.

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When cooking time is close to being done, make a side of couscous, or serve it with rice. I also like to have some pita bread on hand to scoop up the last few delicious bites left in the bowl.

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Your Moroccan Stew should look like this, now it’s time to enjoy it with friends!

ACraftyArab Moroccan Stew Recipe

 

To see more Arab food recipes, visit

Egyptian Tomato and Chickpea Soup {Recipe}

Lebanese Lentil Soup {Recipe}

To see more Moroccan crafts visit

Moroccan Flag Candy Dish

To more Arab League crafts, visit A Crafty Arab on Pinterst.

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Tabbouleh in the morning {Recipe}

Tabbouleh ( تبولة‎) is an Arab vegetarian side dish originally from the mountains of Lebanon and Syria.  The word from comes the Arabic word taabil, meaning seasoning.

 

It consists mainly of parsley, bulger and tomatoes, with mint, olive oil and lemon juice added for flavoring.

ACraftyArab Tabbouleh in the MorningTitle

 

From it’s origins, variations of tabbouleh can now be found around the world, in Turkey and the Dominican Republic, traveling with the Lebanese and Syrians that migrated. It is a popular dish at American potlucks, first appearing in the 1950s.  Nowadays, you are likely to find unusual additions added in, depending on the person’s personal taste.

 

In the late 1990s, there was a Tabbouleh Cook Off held at a local Seattle park.  I, unfortunately, was asked to be a judge.  I say unfortunately because it was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make.

 

They were all so tasty, but here’s what I learned from the Arab elder women who came to Cook Off their prized family recipe, it comes down to if you have time to make a great tabbouleh instead of an okay tabbouleh.  You have to chop your parsley very fine.  If you think it’s fine enough, chop it again.  You need time to chop and chop some more   No one should be able to pick a piece of parsley out of your salad and use it as a garnish.  It needs to be the size of the bulger to get that texture that a great tabbouleh is known for.

 

To start your side dish, place a cup of fine bulger in two cups water.

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You basically want the bulger to soak up the water while it sits for an hour.   After your hour is up, drain your water.  I also take fistfuls of the bulger to squeeze out extra water.

 

Next you’ll want to chop 3 medium tomatoes.  I like to start by cutting them into small cubes.

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Then I place them in my Tupperware Quick Chef to make them smaller. I don’t want them liquid, like Mexican salsa, just a bit more dainty.

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Set your tomatoes aside in a bowl.

Next remove the stalks from the parisly and place in the Quick Chef, but I churn it for much longer. Just when I think my arm is ready to fall off, I switch arms.  That’s the cool thing about the Quick Chef, it has a padded bottom that keeps it in place when I switch arms.

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Here’s the tip to really great tabbouleh: chop your parsley some more. Yup, I know I’ve said it till I’m blue in the face, but it’s important. I take it out of a chopper and chop it again.

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Combine  the parsley and tomatoes to the freshly squeezed bulger, with half a cup of chopped mint, half a cup olive oil,  a third of a cup of lemon juice and a pinch of salt/pepper to taste.  Place it all in the fridge for at least an hour.

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Add it as a side to any meat dish.  Or have it inside a sandwich with falafel.

 

Personally, I  like it best in the morning with a side of eggs and roasted red potatoes.  That’s the thing about great tabbouleh, when it’s good, it doesn’t matter when or what you eat with it.

 

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Libyan Shakshuka Recipe {In the Country of Men}

Shakshuka In the Country of Men by A Crafty Arab

My book club met last night to discuss Hisham Matar’s In the Country of Men.

This book is about a young boy growing up in Tripoli, Libya with a father who may or may not be involved in anti government conducts and a mother who may or may not be visiting the baker for smuggled alcohol to hide her depression. With no structure at home, our protagonist relays on those around him as he witnesses the horrors of growing up with a murderous dictator.

For me the writing fell short of other Arab novels I’ve read, however as a debut novel it does an excellent job of describing Tripoli under the terrors of the Gaddafi rule. It was even shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize. Matar went on to write Anatomy of a Disappearance, and in my opinion that is a much better read.

I had a personal connection to this book since I distinctly remember my father telling me the story of Hisham Mater’s father’s real life disappearance in 1990.

At the time, Libyans abroad thought that Egypt was safe to travel and met family there that they were not able to see otherwise. They soon learned that Gaddafi had a detrimental reach over the border.

Everyone always assumed Matar’s father was killed in the 1996
Abu Salim prison massacre. I was happy to recently read that may not have been the case. The true story of what happened may someday be told.

In our book club the host provides the main dish and everyone else brings the sides. Since our book was about my birth country, I decided to try my hand at making a common dish in Libyan cuisine: shashouka.

To be honest, I had forgotten about shashuka, since I hadn’t eaten it in years and years. It’s not a common dish here in America because it’s made with Libyan gedeed, قديد ليبي, which is hard to find.  If you do decide to try your hand at it, it takes a very long time to make.

Gedeed is dried lamb (or mutton) that is made and preserving in a unique way. The meat is cut into strips and salted and dried, with spices added to prevent bacteria. Then it is hung to cure. Anyone visiting Libya during Eid Al Adha, will see thin strips
of meat hanging from lines all over town.

Last week I was trying to decide what to make for book club on a day that I knew was going to be full of parent teacher conferences and multiple auto car repair shop visits. I needed something fast and well, Libyan food is not known for being fast. Someone in one of the blooger groups I belong to mentioned shakshouka and posted a recipe. Soon others mentioned that they ate it in Tunisia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and even Israel.

When I looked into the history of shakshuka, I found out that it originated in North Africa, with wiki saying it is part of Tunisian, Libyan, Algerian, Moroccan, and Egyptian cuisine.

Upon future research, I found that there are several Israeli who make direct ties to bringing shashuka from Libya:

“A Greek? Making shakshuka?” said Tzachi, a short and temperamental man with warm brown eyes and a hairy chest. “Please, that’s Moroccan food, leave it to us.” “Moroccan?” came a voice from the other end of the tent. “How dare you, punk?” It was Danny, and he wasn’t happy. Shakshuka, he said, originated from Tripoli, and was brought to Israel by Libyan Jews. Greeks and Moroccans, he said, have no right to claim it. – Liel Leibovitz, All Shakshuka Up, The Jewish Week

Also, if you are to eat Doktor Shakshuka, in old Jaffa, you are eating at an establishment owned by a large Libyan family, who most likely migrated to Israel from 1948 to 1951.

Shakshuka In the Country of Men by A Crafty Arab

A quick call to my mom (remember that yummy Libyan Mubatan she made us?) confirmed that it was indeed North African, as there is no word for it in Hebrew.  Shakshouka was actually an Amazigh word that means “all mixed up.”

She gave me her recipe for Libyan shakshouka and I decided to make it last night for book club.

We spent our evening talking about the history of Libya and we answering questions together about the book. Since I had no way of getting access to gedeed, she said I could use beef jerky instead. It actually tasted quite yummy and the pan was empty by the end of the evening.

Saha’a (to your health!) if you would like to try it.

Ingredients
tomatoes
garlic
olive oil
onions
tomato paste
Libyan spices
salt
beef jerky
parsley
eggs

In a deep pan, heat up the olive oil, garlic, onions and jalapenos. I put them in whole because I didn’t have time to seed them. It gives the dish the flavor, but let my guests be in charge of how spicy.

Shakshuka In the Country of Men by A Crafty Arab

While the stuff is happening on the stove, I used kitchen scissors to cut the beef jerky into small bite size pieces and soaked them in water. This helped soften the jerky as gedeed is not “tough” in the original Libyan dish. While that is soaking, I pureed the tomatoes in a blender.

Shakshuka In the Country of Men by A Crafty Arab

At this point the onions should be soft so I added the tomatoes to the pan and turn it on high. I removed the jerky from the water and added that also. (Discard the water.)

Shakshuka In the Country of Men by A Crafty Arab
I’m lucky in that I have an Arab mom that stocks my kitchen with jars that simply say Libyan spices. It’s our country’s version of allspice, but way better. If you don’t have a Libyan mom stocking your spice rack, simply mix 1 tbs turmeric, 1 tbs ground cinnamon in your pan.
Shakshuka In the Country of Men by A Crafty Arab

I also added a 1/2 Tbsp of paprika.  I cooked this for about 5
minutes on high, then turned low to simmer and mixed in one heaping Tbsp on tomato paste. Be generous, it’s okay.

Shakshuka In the Country of Men by A Crafty Arab

I let this simmer for 20 minutes and came back with four eggs. I cracked them on top, making sure to break the yoke. I put a lid over the eggs and set the timer.  5 minutes for runny centers and 10 minutes for hard centers.

I left the lid on untill you got to the table and then add a handful of parsley for color immediately before serving.  Shakshuka is not eaten with utensils, rather warm bread is used to soak up the sauce, eggs and meat.

We also enjoyed sides of couscous and vegetables.

Shakshuka In the Country of Men by A Crafty Arab

Along with taboulah, kibbeh and sfiha from the local Lebanese market in town.

Shakshuka In the Country of Men by A Crafty Arab

After dinner we went to the living room for tea, halwa and yummy homemade fruit cake and cookies.  It was a lovely night and I can’t wait till we meet again next month.

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