Moroccan Recipes

©Photo by Lois Siegel

Aliza Hutmann
Octogon Catering
Aliza Hutmann loves to cook.  She grew up in Israel and learned
the family secrets of traditional Moroccan Spanish dishes in her mom’s kitchen.
Her culinary style: fresh ingredients and exotic flavors.

Photos by Lois Siegel

    Roasted Beet, Goat Cheese, Pine Nuts and Fresh Parsley Salad

Eggplant/Aubergine Salad

Eggplant is traditionally grilled over a charcoal brazier (a thick clay pot with a base and several small holes to allow the charcoal to burn. The main use for the brazier is to use in conjunction with a Tagine.  However the charcoal brazier as another use it's a great little barbecue) or on an open flame, and it can be messy but it’s definitely worth it.  I have attached the following recipes. They can be baked in the oven over parchment paper.

First, wash and dry the eggplant.  The eggplant needs a smoky taste. To achieve this “drill” holes with a paring knife in a whole eggplant

Bake them in the oven at 400F for 30 minutes. Rotate the eggplant once after 15 minutes until it is very soft and looks like it has collapsed. The skin should be scorched and blackened.  Cool the eggplant and cut it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh with a wooden spoon and drain the roasted flesh of any excess bitter liquid.

For the Best rustic texture I mash the eggplants or you can push the eggplant through a food mill, don’t tempt to use a blender.

Use the scooped eggplant flesh in the following recipes

Roasted Eggplant with Tahini

(Tahini, tahine, tehina, or sesame paste, is a paste of ground sesame seeds used in cooking. Middle Eastern tahini is made of hulled, lightly roasted seeds. East Asian sesame paste is made of unhulled seeds.)

To the scooped out flesh of two eggplants, add cup raw Tahini, the juice from 1 lemon, 2 garlic -finely chopped, cup of finely chopped mint - leaves only, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add cup raw Tahini, the juice from 1 lemon, 2 garlic -finely chopped, cup of finely chopped
mint - leaves only, season with salt and pepper to taste.

As an appetizer, I often offer my clients a variety of eggplant salads or dip, drizzled with olive oil, alongside spiced pita chips, or as a salad with grilled or cooked meat or chicken. This is a classic addition to a Meze table, along with roasted peppers, hummus dip , Moroccan carrot salad, Matboucha (cooked tomato salad), and spiced Kalamata olives.

Mezes are small dishes of tasty Middle Eastern foods, traditionally served before a meal or in cafes over drinks. Try them with cocktails or on a hot day as a light meal.


Roasted Eggplant with Yogurt
Try replacing some or all of the Tahini with a strongly flavored yogurt, goat milk, or Greek-styled yogurt.  For a lighter flavor, add a chopped shallot, salt and pepper.

Roasted Eggplant Caviar
To the flesh of 2 eggplants,  add a cup of pitted blacked olives, 2 chopped cloves of crushed garlic,1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 tbs of Chives finely chopped, paprika, and salt.

Roasted Eggplant with Pecan and Blue Cheese or Brie
This union of particularly strong flavors produces a delicious spread on bread.
To the flesh of 2 eggplants, add cup crumbled blue cheese or brie and cup of toasted, chopped pecans.

Roasted Eggplant with Red Peppers
To the flesh of 2 eggplants, add 2-3 flame-roasted sweet, red peppers (peeled and sliced thinly), cup of olive oil, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, salt and pepper.

Pita Chips

Covered with spices and olive oil

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cooking Time: 8 Minutes   
Ready In: 15 Minutes

Servings: 24

12 pita bread pockets can use whole wheat pitas
1/2 cup olive oil

1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp sumac
1 tsp salt
tsp and black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
Substitute spices with zaatar
Add fresh garlic

1.   Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C)
2.   Cut each pita bread into 8 triangles. (cut by hand or knife)  
       Place triangles on lined cookie sheet.
3.    Combine in a small bow: oil with paprika, cumin, sumac, pepper, salt, and herbs.
       Brush each triangle with oil mixture
4.    Bake in preheated oven for about 8 minutes,
       or until lightly browned and crispy.
       Check after 5 minutes because the Pita chips tend to burn quickly

Moroccan Meatballs with Tomatoes, Olives
and Homemade Preserved Lemon

Serves 4



1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons Italian parsley, roughly chopped
2 slices white bread, crusts removed
1 egg
18 ounces ground lamb or ground beef
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Tomatoes, olives and preserved lemon sauce

4 tomatoes crashed
6 cloves of garlic chopped
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 red chili pepper, seeded and sliced or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (Optional)
10 ounces of olives
1 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 preserved lemon, pulp removed and rind cut into strips (optional)

Prepare the meatballs: grate the onion, chop the parsley, crumb the bread, and add to the meat in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Knead until the mixture is paste like in consistency.

Shape the mixture into walnut-sized balls and place them on a tray.  Fry balls in oil both sides. (optional)

The Sauce
Heat oil in a saucepan and add the garlic. Cook over low heat. Add the tomatoes, paprika, turmeric and chili or cayenne pepper, and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Add the meatballs to the pan, shaking so that they settle into the sauce.
Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

Add preserved lemon and cook for 15 minutes more.
Garnish with 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped.

Couscous with Dried Apricots and Roasted Pistachios
Pine Nuts and Almonds

Serves 10


3 cups chicken stock
4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 10- couscous (about 2 1/4 cups)
1 1/4 cups (about 7 ounces) dried apricots, thinly cubes

2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1 1/4 cups (about 4 ounces) unsalted pistachios, toasted, chopped
3/4 cup chopped green onions ( optional)
6 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil (optional )


Combine water, oil and salt in medium saucepan; bring to boil. Combine couscous, apricots and spices in large bowl. Add boiling liquid. Cover immediately; let stand until water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Uncover; fluff with fork. Cool. ( Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature before continuing.)

Mix nuts, green onions and basil into couscous, season with salt and pepper.

Meatballs and Couscous

Phyllo Pastries with Orange-Flower Custard and Fresh Strawberries

Serves 10

1-3/4 cups whole blanched almonds, toasted
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
8 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp orange-flower water
2 cups fresh raspberries, blackberries or strawberries for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a blender or food processor, coarsely grind the almonds. Transfer to a medium bowl and combine them with the powdered sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

Stack the phyllo sheets on a work surface. Using a sharp knife, with a 4-inch-diameter bowl or saucer as a template, cut 6 circles in the stacked phyllo. You will have 48 phyllo circles, or 8 for each pastry. Discard the scraps.

On a parchment-lined or nonstick baking sheet, stack 2 phyllo leaves, lightly brushing each with melted butter. Sprinkle the top leaf evenly with 1 level tbsp of the ground almond mixture. Repeat this process twice.

Top with 2 final buttered leaves. Repeat this entire process to make the remaining 5 pastries.

Bake the pastries on the center rack of the oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and, with a metal spatula, transfer each pastry to a dessert plate.

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, sugar, and cinnamon stick to a simmer over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into the cream.

Add this mixture to the simmering milk, along with the orange-flower water. Cook, stirring, until the orange flower custard mixture coats the spoon. Discard the cinnamon stick. Pour 1/2 cup of warm custard over each pastry.

Garnish with 2 cups fresh blackberries or strawberries and serve immediately.

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