If there’s a single flavour that’s evocative of Morocco, it’s mint. Mint tea—known in some quarters as “Moroccan whisky”—is served at every possible opportunity—in private homes, with restaurant meals and to potential customers by stall owners in the souks of Marrakech.
Whether in large quantities or as a subtle hint, mint makes an appearance in a huge array of classic Moroccan dishes, such as tagines, cous cous or salads. You’ll often find it mingling—as it does here—with another characteristic flavour, that of fresh coriander leaves. This recipe uses a mere tablespoon of mint (you can opt for coriander instead) but along with the carefully judged quantities of dried spices and the coupling of meat with dried fruit, it’s part of the taste of North Africa.
Flatbreads are a popular street food in Morocco, with freshly made dough folded over savoury fillings before being cooked on a griddle. This delicious beef version gets a spicy kick from harissa, the chilli-based paste that is the Maghreb’s go-to condiment when heat is needed.
Home-made harissa and the kinds you’ll find in speciality food stores from small-batch producers vary considerably in their heat. The kind you find in tubes in supermarkets tends to be fiery. Proceed with caution and treat Yolaine Corbin’s recommended two tablespoons as a guide only—if your harissa is a hot one, you may choose to use much less.
And if chilli is not your thing? Feel free to leave it out altogether—you can always offer a little harissa on the side for those who like it hot.