Ask people what the typical foods from Morocco are and you probably will get a blank look. Which is a great shame.
This richly-decorated, colourful book is a real cook’s tour. A tourist book without the tourist information, combining culinary information and recipes together to really help deliver a flavour of Morocco. Drawing naturally on culinary influences from its neighbours, Moroccan cuisine remains an intriguing, mysterious world that, through this book, you can get a privileged look at.
Following on from an enchanting introduction and overview of Morocco – the country and its regions, the reader is taken inside a typical Moroccan pantry. Key ingredients are examined, their use and preparation discussed and even local language translations provided (in case you find yourself in Morocco?). A similar look is then made at the typical tools you may find in a Moroccan kitchen. Whilst you can make do at home with what you already have, there are a few bits and pieces that you might wish to acquire (if you are a kitchen magpie or just like to do things the authentic, traditional way).
After that it is straight to the recipes. Well almost as you still get a lot of useful information wrapped around the recipes and stuffed in-between for good measure. Starting off with breads and pastries – did you know that bread is a staple of Moroccan diets – and boy do some of the delicate ‘basic’ pastries stuffed with rice or cheese look absolutely scrumptious, yet so simple. Each recipe is comprehensively written without being verbose, providing sufficient information to help a total newcomer make great food without being patronising or overbearing. The book has about 80 recipes in total so you are getting more of an overview or taster than the total, one-and-only book you may need to Moroccan recipes, yet this is not a complaint as you are getting a great little package, a wonderful introduction no less.
After bread and pastries, the reader is guided through the Moroccan world of soups and legumes; street food; fresh & cooked salads; meats; eggs & poultry; fish & shellfish; couscous; sweets & desserts and finally drinks. Many of the recipes surprise (as in, aha! you can do that with that!) and quite a few amaze by their beautiful simplicity. The recipes standout by themselves. The quality photographs just make things even better, if that is possible. At the end there is a bibliography for the curious to read even more about Moroccan cuisine and, as you would expect, a great index.
This reviewer can see this book forming part of any ambitious gastronome’s library, a basis for experimentation, a further weapon in the fusion arsenal.. as well as being a damn good introduction to another culture’s culinary world. A further, more expanded companion to this book, written in the same style, is now needed!
Morocco: A Culinary Journey with Recipes from the Spice-Scented Markets of Marrakech to the Date-Filled Oasis of Zagora, written by Jeff Koehler and published by Chronicle Books. ISBN 9780811877381, 224 pages. Typical price: GBP15. YYYYY.