Authentic Moroccan Cuisine

Authentic Moroccan cuisine begins and ends with one item: the tajine – a dish in which Moroccan meals are prepared, cooked and served.

“Any food you fancy, you [can] put it in [the] tajine,” said Chakib Benkhraba, 53, a Moroccan who now resides in London and has worked for several restaurants that cook with tajines.

Tajine

Maybe more essential to a Moroccan home than the crockpot is to an American home, the tajine is also often found in Moroccan households, surrounded by a lively family like Benkhraba’s. Each member uses their fingers to scoop out what they want. Tajine cooking is not just for Moroccans, however, it can be a great addition to any kitchen.

Historically used by the Amazigh people, native to North Africa,  the two-part clay dish is comprised of a cone-shaped lid and a round bottom with raised edges. The bottom usually measures about a foot in diameter. The food cooked inside the dish is commonly referred to as “tajine” as well.

“I used to learn from my mom and my dad, my father was a very good cook as well; he used to cook for us when we were young, or my mom would, they’d change,” Benkhraba said.

He has used what he learned to prepare delicious tajine recipes for others as well as himself.  Now that he lives abroad, he keeps a personal tajine in his kitchen so that he can prepare the tastes of home while he is away.

Fish, lamb, beef, chicken and assorted vegetables are all tajine options. Benkhraba’s favorite recipe is lamb shank tajine.

“It is very, very tasty. When you eat it, it’s like butter,” he said. “It’s very tender and very juicy.”

Tajine cooking differs from other methods because of the shape of its lid. It is effective at making meat and vegetables succulent and savory because the cone-shaped lid catches the hot rising moisture that comes from the food, and the slanted sides of the lid allow that moisture to run back down into the food.

This slow-cooking method creates the perfect blend of flavors as well as tenderness that is mumtaz, Arabic for excellent.

Many modern tajines are made of aluminum and are readily available at any Moroccan “souk,” or market. Those intended to be used as artistic pieces are made with colorful designs and patterns. However, for cooking, unpainted clay tajines work best.

Benkhraba says that tajine-style cooking can be done over a stovetop – even with the convenient aluminum tajines. But the best tajine cooking is done over charcoal with a clay tajine. Sharing his coveted recipe for lamb tajine, he emphasized the importance of using the correct spices and ingredients.

Benkhraba’s Lamb Tajine 

1 kilo (or 2 lbs.) of lamb shoulder

2 tbsp olive oil

4 to 5 garlic cloves, chopped

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

Pinch of ginger powder

Pinch of turmeric

2 onions, diced

Fresh coriander, chopped

5 whole or halfed artichoke hearts

1 ½ cups green peas

Start by heating the lamb with olive oil and stir until brown. Then add garlic. Heat on low for 25 minutes in the tajine and continue stirring. Add in a little water as necessary to prevent burning and create a sauce. Next, stir in all spices, onion and coriander. Add the artichoke hearts and peas, close the lid, and cook for 30 minutes on medium heat. (Potatoes, carrots and other vegetables can be used also or instead of). Add spice to taste and, using a fork, check for the lamb to be done when it’s soft and easily breaks apart. Serve directly from dish. (Recipe courtesy of http://morocco.roundearthmedia.org)

The Features Of The Wusthof Classic Knife

Wusthof Classic knives are just that, a classic. They are known among professional chefs as the Cadillac of kitchen knives. That’s right, the best knife of the best knives. They have the right amount of heft, a blade that can’t be beaten, a bolster for excellent balance, and a very comfortable handle. Let us dive into this line of knives a little deeper.

The Wusthof Classic Blade

The blade of a Wusthof Classic knife is forged from a single blade of stainless steel. Immediately out of the box, the blade may be duller than what you may have thought, but expect this with Wusthof knives. Sharpen the knife to your liking and you will be amazed at not only how sharp the knife can get, but also how long the blade stays sharp.

Perfectly Designed Knife

The bolster allows professional chefs and home cooks alike to get a firm grip on the knife with your thumb and index finger in front of the bolster. This grip allows precise chopping, dicing, and slicing. The handle is ergonomically triple-riveted and slip resistant. Most people find this handle extremely comfortable in their hands.

Having the best knives from Wusthof

Wusthof brand is one of my favorite brand of knives, with my love of cooking I find it the most reliable and affordable knife. It comes with the classic and the gourmet sets which are a great addition to my kitchen. Now, I don’t want to be biased, but I find that having a good brand knife in the kitchen makes a big difference. I discovered the wusthof brand of knives after trying to cut tomatoes, and the knife could not go through.
The classic and gourmet designed knives are of similar designs. Made from stainless steel, they are rust resistant as well as all knives feature a high carbon metal design. With strong blade knives from Wusthof are safe to use in the home. Its blade is sharp, and you can easily cut through a piece of meat without feeling like the force will break the handle.

The classic line is the best knives from the Wusthof brand because its durability which I might add has been tested over the years. While we can compare prices this line is a bit more expensive than the gourmet designs because of its full tang design. The gourmet knife is a low-end knife if you are tight on budget but make sure you buy the stamped blade, not a forged one. Even if it is a bit cheaper, the gourmet knife from Wusthof is a great addition to my knife collection.

A good knife is an investment for anyone who spends more time cooking than literally eating the food. The best knives from Wusthof, the classic and gourmet sets as well as other well-designed knives have made my life easier. Next am going for the seven piece starter kit which comprises of four knives, shears and honing steel to keep them sharp.

Wusthof Classic Chef Knife : The Great Kitchen Gift

I am a huge fan of the Wusthof Classic Chef Knife. I consider it the best knife I’ve ever used. In the kitchen, this knife is parallel to no other. It is balanced, hardy and ergonomic.

Who Is The Wusthof Classic For ?

If you like to give quality gifts, secure in the knowledge that they will last a long time and continue to be useful, then this cook’s knife is definitely something to keep in mind. Notice in the features section that these knives are forged from high carbon stainless steel. Do you know what that means? Knives made from high carbon stainless steel are extremely sharp and will stay that way longer. Knives with low carbon can’t be honed as sharply.

Why Buy The Wusthof Classic ?

Buy this knife for someone, and there is a good chance you’ll eventually be rewarded in some culinary way! They’ll be so happy while dicing and slicing they’ll want to thank you for it.

Cook’s Knife : The Perfect Gift

Does someone you care about and that would be someone you buy gifts for spend a lot of time in the kitchen? Does that someone consider themselves something of a chef, or at least someone who is a good cook? Are you looking for a the best knife for them? Maybe as a wedding shower gift or wedding gift?

Let Me Introduce You To The Cook’s Knife

Well, every chef and every good cook know the importance of a good kitchen knife. So why not think about Gifting a Cook’s Knife? I said it. Give a chef a knife. I know how personal the relationship of a chef and their knives are. But, challenge it. Lead your friends into greener pastures.

Why The Cook’s Knife ?

A cook’s knife, also known as a chef’s knife or French knife is a nice practical kitchen gift, but also one that will be much appreciated. It’s a multi-tasking knife. Instead of being specific to one cutting tasks, such as paring, bread or butter knives, you can use it to slice meat, slice, mince or chop vegetables and more.