Morocco: Raw Tagine with Cashew-Jicama Couscous

Posted by on Sep 13, 2014 in Recipes | 2 comments

Today we make our last stop in Africa on our VeganMoFo world tour! Morocco, on the continent’s north west, has a bit of a romantic mystique about it. Perhaps it is because of the movie Casablanca, or perhaps it is because life seems to go on there as it has for centuries. The lively medinas, with their affront of smells, colors and textures; the rituals associated with drinking fresh mint tea; the preparation and sharing of incredibly delicious food are all the same as they have always been. And these things at least, really shouldn’t change. 

The photos I’m sharing today were taken by my dear friend Joana, who I traveled with in Morocco.  I quite brilliantly forgot to bring my camera along for the ride…  

The perfect fresh mint tea

The perfect fresh mint tea

We started our visit in Casablanca, Morocco’s lively capital city. The city is a mix of the modern and the ancient.  Gorgeous moorish structures stand out among more functional modern buildings.  It’s home to the continent’s largest mosque, which also houses the world’s tallest minaret. It may also be among the world’s most picturesque, perched right on the shores of the ocean. The absolute vastness of the courtyard that surrounded it and the buildings themselves made me feel incredibly small.  It was huge and it was beautiful! Only muslims can actually enter the mosque, so I didn’t go inside, but I’m told it is stunning.  The beach right next to it is lovely. I spent a good amount of time walking along its shores, taking in the ocean air, listening to the rhythm of the waves breaking against the shore and enjoying every moment of it. I spent lots of evenings eating delicious food with friends, watching some stunning belly dancing, and of course some time in the markets (which quite frankly, weren’t the most exciting of my travels) and had a lovely time.  But, if you go to Morocco and all you see is Casablanca, you’ll be missing out, because the real magic of this country lies elsewhere. 

Morocco Patterns

A wall at the Medersa in Marrakech

The highlight of my trip was the couple of days I spent in Marrakech with my dear friend Joana.  

Student's room at the Medersa

Student’s room at the Medersa

We took the train there from Casablanca and stayed in a beautiful riad. 

A wall in Marrakech

A wall in Marrakech

On the streets of the medina

On the streets of the medina

We spent our time there exploring the winding streets, peeking in nooks and crannies, visiting museums, discovering gorgeous architecture and art, and shopping for stunning jewelry and trinkets.  

Marrakech Museum

Marrakech Museum

Exploring the medina

Exploring the medina

Of course, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to go to the hamam, even though it was a million degrees outside. We relaxed in the sauna, then had our skin all but scrubbed off us, followed by a relaxing massage.  A couple of hours of pure bliss! 

Dining at Djemaa el Fna

Dining at Djemaa el Fna

Of course, if you go to Marrakech you must spend an evening in Djemma el Fna, the city’s central square, which comes alive at dusk with street performers and stall after stall selling incredibly fresh, delicious food.  It was a sensory delight! 

A real tagine...

A real tagine…

I had absolutely no trouble eating great vegan food in Morocco (although I wasn’t gluten free then…). Yummy bread, amazing salads, flavorful tangines and couscous. It’s pretty much a vegan paradise. 

A much younger me enjoying my food.

A much younger me enjoying my food (although not sure why I look so pensive).

There are a million and one traditional Moroccan recipes I could have brought you today, but to keep things interesting I decided to create something a little different. I’ve been trying to incorporate more and more raw foods into my diet (though I haven’t been doing so well this month with Vegan MoFo). So when I was thinking about what recipe to share for Morocco I immediately became intrigued by the idea of bringing you a raw tagine, complete with raw couscous.

Raw tagine and cashew-jicama couscous

Raw tagine and cashew-jicama couscous

And it is as every bit as delicious, if not more so, as more traditional cooked Moroccan stews. 

Yum!

Yum!

With an array of fresh vegetables, sweet raisins and a flavorful and aromatic sauce, what’s not to love about it?

Raw Moroccan Tagine
Serves 2
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Total Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr
Vegetables
  1. 3 small carrots
  2. ½ red pepper
  3. 1 sunburst squash
  4. ½ medium zucchini
  5. 1 cup broccoli
  6. 1 small sweet potato
  7. ½ tsp salt
  8. 3 tomatoes
  9. ¼ cup raisins
  10. 6 mint leaves, chopped
Sauce
  1. ½ cup sundried tomatoes (dry, not packed in oil)
  2. 1½ cups of warm water
  3. 1 shallot
  4. 2 dates
  5. 2 tbsps olive oil
  6. 1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar (or 2 tsps balsamic vinegar with 1 tsp of maple syrup)
  7. 1 tbsp umeboshi plum vinegar (or rice vinegar)
  8. ¼ tsp ground ginger
  9. ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  10. ¼ tsp cinnamon
  11. 1/8 tsp allspice
  12. 1/8 tsp coriander seeds or a heaping 1/8 tsp of ground coriander
  13. 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  14. 1/8 tsp turmeric
  15. 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  16. pinch black pepper
  17. 1 section of a star anise pod
  18. 1 clove
  19. 1 tsp cumin
  20. ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  21. salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut carrots, red pepper, squash, zucchini, broccoli and sweet potato into small bite-sized chunks.
  2. Place in a large bowl with a tsp of salt and mix the salt through the vegetables.
  3. Put another bowl on top of the vegetables, with something heavy inside, and let the veggies sit for at least half an hour, or longer, to soften. The longer you let them sit, the softer they will get.
  4. After they have reached your desired level of softness, drain the salty water from the bottom of the bowl.
  5. If the vegetables taste too salty to you, you can rinse them under cold water for a minute or so, to wash the salt away.
Sauce
  1. Place sundried tomatoes in warm water for 10-15 minutes, until they soften.
  2. Roughly chop shallot and dates.
  3. Add sundried tomatoes along with 1 cup of the soaking water to a blender.
  4. Add chopped shallot, dates, olive oil, aged balsamic, umeboshi plum vinegar, and spices to the blender (if you have a high-speed blender, like a vitamix, you can add the star anise, clove and coriander seeds whole, otherwise you may want to grind them in a spice grinder before hand).
  5. Blend on high until smooth.
  6. Add more of the tomato soaking water if necessary to get a thick, smooth sauce.
Putting it together
  1. Place pressed vegetables in a large bowl.
  2. Chop your fresh tomatoes and add them to the bowl, along with the raisins and mint leaves.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of the sauce and stir to combine.
Notes
  1. You'll have more sauce than you need for the vegetables, which means that if you're making this for more than two, you'll be able to double or triple the veggies and not need to make more sauce. The sauce can also be used as a sandwich topping for stir fries, or any number of things. It's delicious, you'll love it.
Vegan Sweet and Simple http://vegansweetandsimple.com/
The couscous is surprising, delicious and just a tiny bit sweet. I could have eaten it all, by itself. But together with the tagine, it’s spectacular. 

Cashew-Jicama Couscous
Serves 2
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Total Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. ¼ cup raw cashew pieces
  2. 1 cup jicama, peeled and chopped
  3. Salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a food processor with the s blade, process cashew pieces until it forms a fine meal (but not powder, be careful not to over process!)
  2. Set cashews aside in a medium bowl.
  3. Add jicama to the food processor and process until the jicama has been chopped into small couscous-sized pieces.
  4. Scoop jicama into a nut milk bag, or cheesecloth, and squeeze to remove the jicama juice. You want the jicama to be pretty dry.
  5. Add the jicama to the cashew meal and stir to combine.
  6. Season with salt, to taste.
Notes
  1. I suppose you could also add 1/4 tsp of turmeric to get a color more true to the original and some anti-inflammatory benefits too!
Vegan Sweet and Simple http://vegansweetandsimple.com/
I don't think I can express in words really how tasty this is

I don’t think I can express in words really how tasty this is

And the leftovers get even better with time.  We had some the next day on a wrap, along with some beyond meat, kale and avo. 

Leftovers! Mmmmm!

Leftovers! Mmmmm!

The best thing about it? It takes less time to put together than a real tagine! I really hope you enjoy it!

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2 Comments

  1. Gorgeous photos from your trip! I love Morroccan architecture and design, such vibrant colors! I’ve never had a real tagine but your raw version looks good :)

  2. Journey through Morocco is quite epic. You find here something for any person in all age groups and in all interest.
    Culinary tours are popular in Morocco too. If you are coming just on your own then you should consider at least taking cooking class that is great fun and you do learn a lot about the hidden secrets of Moroccan tajins and other dishes

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