Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Eating with Your Hands in Morocco

Moroccan Tagine is all about home cooking, it takes at least 3 hours to prepare which is why it's not that common to find real Moroccan food even when you are in a restaurant. It is all about making a huge portion (to feed an entire family) and serving it on one big platter that will go in the middle of the table where everyone will eat with their hands and fight for the piece they want in the middle. No knife, fork or spoon needed and a true Moroccan will hardly touch/use their individual small plates. Your only utensil is your piece of bread that you would use to scrape off the meat and its juices.

Artichoke salad to start...
 Most Moroccan restaurants in London sadly does not serve Tagines like this, we are a civilised nation and we are too scared to use our hands to eat. In Thailand I grew up learning to eat with my hands and I love it, you really have a real connection with the food when you eat this way (and I don't know how to explain it) but eating with your hands just tastes so much better.

So last week when I was in Agadir (seaside town in Morocco) visiting Saad's family I got to eat his Mom's Tagine every day and learnt to master my skill of eating with my hands again. Unfortunately I am quite a slow eater which is not ideal in this kind of arrangement because you may lose out on a good chunks of meat if you are not quick enough. Thankfully for me Saad kept handing me his 'best finds' such as the cheeks of the beef or the tender piece of the chicken.

Melt in your mouth lamb Tagine slow cooked with almonds, prunes & apricots...notice the bread around the plate?

Dig in! 
The next night Saad's mom served Tangia. This is a dish cooked in a tall clay pot that you fill up with beef, spices and veggies at home and then you take your filled pot to a guy who will slow cook it for you in fire over night. The next day you go back to him, pay him for his fire and bring it home to eat.

Saad coming home with the cooked Tangia

Careful with the serving!

Et Voila!

After two nights of heavy protein Saad requested that his Mom make some fish. "Morocco has the best sardines. We deep fry them and eat them semi crispy, they are so good" Saad informed me. I love sardines so I was very excited when his Mom laid the table with this meal.....

If you are ever in Morocco try to refrain from using knife and fork and get stuck in with just your fingers. I promise you will taste the difference! 

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