Monday, 11 June 2012


I'm sometimes a bit stuck for side dishes to go with tagines (in addition to the mandatory cous-cous). This week, I think I've just invented moroccatouille. A perfect accompaniment for tagine, b'steeya or any spicy dish (I'm all in favour of multi-cultural cooking). I thought I'd have my first attempt at writing out a recipe to share. The recipe below serves four as a side dish and can be made in about 20 minutes.


I'm not really one for exact measurements so the following is for guidance only. Please adjust according to taste.

  • Oil - olive or, even better, some of the oil from your jar of sun dried tomatoes.
  • 1 small onion.
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic.
  • Ground cinnamon, cumin and coriander.
  • Optional: 1 medium chilli.
  • 1 Aubergine.
  • Half a dozen pieces of sun dried tomato - say about a third to half a jar.
  • 1 small red or yellow pepper, or an equivalent number of pieces from a jar of roasted peppers.
  • A handful of fresh coriander.

You will also need a deep sided frying pan, wok or tagine with a well fitting lid.

  1. Finely chop the onion, crush and finely chop the garlic. If using chilli, de-seed and finely chop.
  2. If using a fresh pepper, de-seed it then skin it either using a kitchen blow-torch or under the grill. The idea is to slightly cook it as well as taking the skin off so direct heat is preferable to other skinning methods.
  3. If you like to do all the preparation in advance, chop the pepper (whichever sort) and sun dried tomatoes into your interpretation of bite-sized pieces and dice the aubergine into about 1cm cubes. Alternatively you can do this while the onion and garlic are frying.
  4. Heat the oil in your chosen pan then add chopped onion and fry until softened. Add the garlic and cook for about another minute before adding the three spices - about ½ to 1 teaspoon of each, according to taste, and the fresh chilli is using. I like to go heavy on the cinnamon and coriander and a bit lighter on the cumin but experiment to find your favourite mix.
  5. Cook for a few seconds before adding the chopped pepper, diced aubergine then cook for a couple of minutes more. Meanwhile, boil a small quantity of water in your kettle and finely chop a handful of fresh coriander.
  6. Pour in just enough water to cover the bottom of your pan, add the fresh coriander, stir round and then check seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Cover with a lid and put it on the gentlest light available on your hob. Leave to cook out until the aubergine is soft - say about 10 minutes. It doesn't need any further attention other than to ensure it doesn't dry out (add a tad more boiling water if necessary).

Final instruction - never stick to the recipe. Always experiment. The aubergine and sun dried tomatoes are the key ingredients but everything else is up for grabs. I have an idea that some toasted flaked almonds would make a good garnish before serving. If you want to be really Moroccan, roll the flaked almonds in icing sugar before putting them on.

I'd love to hear comments back from anyone who tries this, or has suggestions for improvements.

1 comment:

Keith Sheppard said...

I knew I'd get it wrong. I forgot to say when to add the sun dried tomatoes. They go in at the same time as the aubergine and red pepper.