Tag Archives: lemons

Djej Makalli

Since I’ve written a fair bit about Morocco on this blog (original post here, plus a redirect to more extensive writing here), I figured it wouldn’t be amiss to include yet another Moroccan recipe — especially because, if you’ve gone to the trouble of making preserved lemons (see previous two posts), you might want more than one way to use them. So here is another use for those lemons — a wonderful Moroccan tagine of chicken with preserved lemons and olives. (I’ve also written about olives and their history, and offered a recipe for Moroccan marinated olives, so you’re getting to the place now that you could create an entire Moroccan meal. Just add the Moroccan orange salad for dessert.)

Traditionally, this would be cooked in the earthenware cooking vessel known as a tagine (of which I wrote here), but the recipe below has been modified for preparation in more common cooking vessels, so you can enjoy it even without owning a tagine. However, so common is the cooking method that the dish (and other tagine-cooked dishes like it) is also known as a tagine.

So while I generally encourage people to simply add a few exotic elements to their regular menu, rather than trying to prepare entire meals from one country (just to make the task of expanding one’s repertoire a bit less daunting), with this recipe, you’ll now be able to cook an entire Moroccan meal, should you wish to do so. Hope you enjoy this as much as I do. Continue reading

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Shalada bil Matesha Basila w’l’Hamad m’Rakad

Okay–so you’ve made your preserved lemons, right? If not, look at the last post, and a week from now, you’ll be ready to make this salad.

This delicious, refreshing salad is Moroccan. It’s a great side dish for summer barbecues–it can’t be beat with meat. But if I’m serving it alone, or with something less robust, I’ll substitute a sweet onion for the more pungent red onion.

And just in case you didn’t start your lemons last week, but still want to make this dish, preserved lemons are now being marketed in the U.S. by Moroccan companies, so you may be able to find them online or in a good import shop. However, it won’t be as cheap, or as fun, as making your own–but they will be just as good. Continue reading

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Preserved Lemons

Olives and Preseved Lemons, Morocco

A handful of ingredients stand as cornerstones of Moroccan cuisine. One of those things is preserved lemons. The preserved lemons in the image above were preserved whole, which is very dramatic looking and may be more authentic, but it takes a month. The recipe below is for “quick” preserved lemons — it only takes a week. These add a distinctive flavor to many Moroccan dishes, some of which I’ll share with you once you’ve made your preserved lemons.

“Speedy” Preserved Lemons

2 ripe lemons
1/3 cup coarse (kosher) salt
1/2 cup lemon juice
olive oil

Try to find lemons that don’t have terribly thick skins. They should be ripe and fragrant. Scrub the lemons and dry them well, then cut each one into eight wedges. Toss the wedges with the salt and place them in a 1/2-pint glass jar with a plastic-coated lid.

Alternatively, if your lemons are not small enough to fit in a 1/2-pint jar (and most lemons sold at your average Midwest grocery store are not that small), toss a few more wedges in additional salt, and keep adding until the jar is pretty firmly packed. But don’t go with too big a jar. (I usually find that 2-1/2 large lemons work in a 1-pint jar.) Continue reading

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Lemons

Lemons are among the world’s top fruits, from the standpoint of economic and culinary importance. However, if you think about it, it is probably the only really important fruit that nobody actually eats. It’s one of the most popular flavors in the world, but it would be unusual indeed for someone to sit down and bite into a nice, juicy lemon. But that’s not the only odd thing about lemons.

The lemon is actually something of a mystery–at least its origins are mysterious. Chroniclers of food over the centuries have attributed its origin to many places. Several have written that it started in China, yet it was not recorded in China before the 10th century, while it was known in Greece and Rome (introduced in about 185 BC), and appears in wall paintings in Pompeii. Also, the first reference to lemon in China was when two bottles of lemon juice were presented as gifts to the emperor, which would imply a certain degree of rarity. One authority says Malaysia is the point of origin, and a few suggest Persia. Interestingly, none of the places suggested as point of origin offers the kinds of conditions under which lemons grow best. Hence, the mystery remains. Continue reading

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