Moroccan Monday: Chickpea Balls

Kefta means ground meat, and Kefta Mkaouara is a traditional Moroccan tagine dish with meatballs and eggs in tomato sauce. We obviously didn’t cook meat and eggs today, but inspired by this dish we made chickpea balls and tomato sauce. We don’t have a tagine, so we just baked the balls in the oven and prepared the sauce on stove. We served them separately, but you can also mix them together.


Chickpea Balls

4 dl cooked chickpeas (or 1 can)
1 small onion
1 dl chickpea flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 tbsp chopped parsley
salt, pepper
oil for brushing

Mash the chickpeas until there are no whole chickpeas left. Use blender if you prefer smoother texture. Finely chop the onion. Mix all the ingredients together, add couple of tbsp water if it looks too dry. Form balls and put them on a baking sheet. Brush the balls with oil and bake about half an hour in 200 Celsius degrees. Serve with tomato sauce and couscous/potatoes/rise.

Tomato Sauce

2 onions
1-2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 can tomato passata or crushed tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp pepper
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
0,5-1 tsp cayenne

Chop the onions and garlic. Put all the sauce ingredients to a saucepan and simmer at least 30 minutes. Serve with chickpea balls.



Moroccan Monday: Couscous

As one of our themes was Moroccan Monday, there had to come a day when couscous would be in the main role. We have no statistics to back this claim up, but looking at various cookbooks and recipes online, couscous seems to be really popular in their cuisine.

And why not? It’s rather versatile and keeps hunger away for long periods of time. (I guess this might explain its historical popularity among desert-dwelling people.)


Fava Beans and Vegetables

1 onion
1 bell pepper
1 zucchini
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin
0,5 tsp turmeric
0,5 tsp cinnamon
0,5 tsp all spice
0,25 tsp cloves
0,5 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
2 big tomatoes
4 dl fava beans
salt, pepper

Dice onion, bell pepper and zucchini. Heat the oil in a pan or pot and sauté diced vegetables with spices about 5 minutes. Meanwhile dice the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes and fava beans to the pan and simmer 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are ready and tomatoes are a bit mushy. Season with salt and pepper and serve with herb couscous.

Herb Couscous

4 dl water
pinch of salt
4 dl couscous
4 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil

Bring the water to boil. Add salt and couscous, remove from heat and let sit covered until the couscous has absorbed all the water. Fluff with a fork. Add chopped herbs, lemon juice and olive oil.


Moroccan Monday: Chickpea Soup

Because of our Monday theme, I’ve been reading a lot of Moroccan recipes recently. A lot of savoury recipes call for cinnamon and/or cardamom, which feels a bit exotic, because here in Finland cinnamon is traditionally used only in desserts or sprinkled on bowl of porridge. Although not too exotic, since garam masala is regularly used in our kitchen. Inspired by the recipes I had read, I created this chick pea soup with cinnamon and vegetables.


Moroccan Chickpea and Vegetable Soup

2 tbsp oil
1 tsp cinnamon
0,5 tsp turmeric
0,5 tsp ginger
1 carrot
1 onion
1 celery stalk
1 can tomato passata
1 l water or vegetable broth
4-5 dl chickpeas
2 potatoes
salt, pepper
small bunch of fresh parsley
2 tbsp lemon juice

Coarsely chop the onion, dice carrot and celery. Heat the oil in a pot and sauté vegetables with spices for 5 minutes. Add tomato and water and bring to boil. Peel and dice the potatoes. Add potatoes and chickpeas to the pot and simmer 20-30 minutes or until vegetables and potatoes are soft. Season with salt and pepper, add chopped parsley and lemon juice and simmer a minute or two before serving.


Moroccan Monday: Potatoes and Olives

We borrowed an African cookbook by Roderick Dixon from the library. The book includes a lot of recipes from all around Africa. Many recipes include meat in some form, but there’s also a lot of vegetarian and vegan recipes. We tried this side dish recipe, and it was so good that we decided to share it with you. We used kalamata olives, but I think any black or green olives will be fine.


Moroccan Potatoes with Olives

1 kg small new potatoes
water, salt
½ tsp turmeric
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 tbsp olive oil
100 g black olives
handful of chopped cilantro

Cook the potatoes in water seasoned with salt. Drain. Mix all the ingredients except cilantro in an oven proof dish. Bake 30 minutes in 180 Celsius degrees. Garnish with cilantro and serve.