October 18, 2018
If you love lamb and traditional Moroccan foods, mechoui is a dish that is a must-try. While the term can have slightly alternative meanings throughout North Africa, here in Morocco, mechoui refers to the cooking of a whole lamb or a sheep in a clay oven over wood.
Here, we discover this tasty and hearty meat dish, how it’s made and what it goes well with.
The Makings Of Mechoui
As mentioned previously, mechoui consists of a roasted sheep or lamb. With the exception of the kidneys, the organs of the stomach cavity are removed and spices such as ras el hanout and saffron are used for seasoning.
Once the meat has become marinated, the stomach cavity is stitched back together. Afterward, the lamb is skewered on a tree branch and is cooked next to a pile of embers (not directly over them since the fat could char the meat). The spindle is rotated occasionally so that the meat gets cooked evenly on all sides.
The lamb is cooked in a gentle manner, allowing for the interior to cook at the same time as the exterior. To add a crispy texture to the Mechoui, the meat is brushed with butter or oil and is gradually brought closer to the embers so that it takes on an amber colour.
Typical Ingredients For Mechoui
- 2 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- 3 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp ginger powder
- 5 tbsp butter cut into pieces and kept cold until needed.
- 2-3 racks of lamb ribs
Like many traditional Moroccan foods, mechoui is served in a unique fashion that’s deeply rooted in local culture. It is often served at the beginning of a meal, which is usually a feast or diffa.
The host initiates the serving of mechoui by taking pieces of the meat with his right hand and offering it to their guests. Due to the tenderness of the meat, diners don’t need cutlery to eat mechoui since they can detach pieces with minimal effort.
In Marrakech, there is a place known as Mechoui Alley, where you will find pits in the ground used for the slow-roasting of lambs. The most skilled butchers who have refined barbecuing chops will roast lambs to entertain and of course, wet the appetites of their customers.
Mechoui At Le Trou Au Mur
At Le Trou Au Mur, you can experience mechoui for yourself with a few options. We serve mechoui in three ways: 1) The leg, which is one of the leaner cuts, 2) the shoulder, a more traditional cut and, 3) the saddle, which is tender.
With our own traditional clay mechoui oven on view, melt-in-the-mouth mechuoi roasts will be a feature, but no less so than a variety of carefully researched old family recipes rarely seen outside private homes.
Regardless of your preference for meat flavourings and texture, our chefs can satisfy your soul with our rich and delicious Mechoui!
October 10, 2018
If you’re a foodie, Morocco will seem like heaven on Earth. For world travelers and global jetsetters alike, Moroccan restaurants have a large offering of delicious cuisines.
You may be wondering what Moroccan cuisine actually looks like and more importantly, what it tastes like. If you’re new to the world of Moroccan dishes, we’ll give you the inside scoop on what to expect.
A Tagine is essentially a stew of spiced meat and vegetables cooked in an earthenware pot (called a Tagine). It usually comes with chicken, beef, fish or lamb – and is served with vegetables and legumes such as pumpkins, zucchinis, garbanzo beans, chickpeas and more. Tagine is often a mix of sweet and savoury due to flavouring from onions, raisins, cinnamon, and saffron.
For added flavour and zest, chefs will season the tagine with garlic, cayenne pepper, saffron, tumeric and paprika. The dish is often served with bread to soak up the sauce that usually sits at the bottom of the pot.
Sardines with Chermoula
Moroccan sardines are fresh from the Atlantic coast and full of flavour. A chermoula dish features fresh sardines, either double filleted or “butterflied”, typically baked (although occasionally fried in oil) and served with chermoula sauce.
Chermoula sauce is tomato-based and full of fresh herbs from the Atlas mountains including parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, olive oil and spices such as garlic, cumin, paprika and ground pepper. Chermoula sardines are a delicate, light dish and perfect for an entree starter.
Couscous, already very popular throughout the world, happens to be one of the national dishes of Morocco. However, the couscous you’ve had in your hometown likely differs from what you’ll find in a Moroccan restaurant. It’s light and fluffy, and cooked over a number of hours. Couscous is also rolled and tossed.
Moroccan couscous comes in many variations. It can be served with chicken, beef, lamb or vegetables and is traditionally eaten by Moroccan families on Fridays.
If you are tired of the regular garden salad or caesar salad, then you need to introduce yourself to the delicious array of Moroccan salads. Zaalouk, which is one of the seven Moroccan salads served at Le Trou au Mur, is made with aubergines, tomatoes, garlic cloves, and is often seasoned with paprika, ground cumin and coriander. It is a flexible dish because you can eat it as a salad, a dip, or even as a spread on a sandwich. Zaalouk is a great option for vegetarians and vegans.
If you’re more of a meat lover, then a Kefta Tagine will wet your appetite. Kefta is a favourite in Moroccan cuisine. It’s usually either made with minced beef or lamb and seasoned with parsley, coriander, paprika, salt and various peppers.
Kefta is usually cooked in a spiced tomato sauce and left to bubble away in a tagine pot. It is customary to serve Kefta with Moroccan mint tea, and the dish often comes with a baked egg in the middle.
Lamb Tagine & Caramelized Quince With Walnuts
This dish deserves a special mention because of its unique pairings. It contains a hearty serving of lamb seasoned with spices such as tumeric and ginger, along with pieces of quince glazed with butter, honey and cinnamon. Walnuts are added to give a crunchy texture to contrast the tenderness of the lamb.
Fresh Fruit Pastilla
This list would be incomplete without dessert. Pastilla comes in different forms. Savoury forms often come served as a chicken dish or with seafood. At Le Trou au Mur, we feature a sweet pastilla that can be served as a pastry as well. It contains milk, powdered sugar, toasted almonds and egg yolks. The base is warka, a thin dough that’s common in Morocco. In many cases, Pastilla also contains orange flower water to give it an added floral flavour.
A Look at Le Trou Au Mur’s Offerings
With a description of just some of the dishes Morocco has to offer, the natural next step is to taste them, cooked by an authentic Moroccan chef. The good news is, at Le Trou Au Mur restaurant, we feature the dishes mentioned above and much more.
Unlike Italian, Japanese, Indian and other popular cuisines, Moroccan cuisine doesn’t always get the spotlight it deserves. It’s a shame because there is so much variety in terms of what you can find at a traditional Moroccan restaurant. In fact, the cuisine is one of the most highly regarded and recommended aspects of a trip to the country. So if you’re setting your sights on visiting Marrakech, make sure to save plenty of room for these Moroccan dishes.
Get a Taste Of Morocco Like Never Before
There is something on our menu for everyone, including vegetarians and vegans, foodies, lovers of exotic dishes, the big eaters and the more selective diners. At Le Trou Au Mur, you can enjoy your meal on our rooftop terrace or in our beautiful dining room with great Moroccan wine, cocktails and music.
Book a reservation now for your chance at authentic Moroccan cuisine!