Sunday, May 31, 2009

Moroccan Bessara

Bessara is a popular fava bean soup from Morocco delicately flavored with cumin and usually finished of with Argan oil. It is a fairly easy soup to put together as it uses some basic ingredients.Though there may be some very slight variations in its ingredients from other recipes because some cooks may substitute it with whatever is on hand like dried green peas for the fava beans and extra-virgin olive oil for the argan oil.Argan oil is made from the nuts of the argan tree which is indigenous to Morocco.This oil is not easy to find here in markets but if by chance you see it , it is a worthwhile investment as it gives the soup a more complex, nutty flavor.

4 Servings


4 1/2 c water

9 oz dried fava beans or green peas,soaked overnight, drained and rinsed

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tsp. ground cumin

1/4-1/2 crumbled dried red chili (optional)

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil or argan oil

sea salt and black pepper

  1. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan, add the beans, garlic, and salt.Reduce the heat and simmer till the beans are soft, maybe 45 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a blender and blend with the remaining ingredients.Adjust seasonings if necessary.
  3. Serve with a drizzle of oil.
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Friday, May 29, 2009

Cardamom Scented Chicken with Mushroom Rice Pilaf

This is the dish that I turn to when its almost approaching dinner time and I can't really make up my mind on what to eat.Luckily, I always have these ingredients on hand , so it just takes me 15 minutes to throw all these things together and its ready within the hour.This is one of my favorite dishes because its so easy to put together so I end up having it 1-2 times a week.
Serves 4
4 boneless,skinless chicken breasts
1Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped(can subs. with red)
1/2 brown onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
1/2 Tbsp. cardamom
3 oz. cold water
2 c water
1/8 tbsp. of the following spices:ground cloves,ground cinammon
1 bay leaf
1 c uncooked brown rice
1c white mushrooms, sliced
knob of butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a baking dish and place chicken breasts in it.
  2. Combine tomatoes,bell pepper,onion, and garlic in a mixing bowl and mix to combine.Spread mixture on top and all around chicken breasts.
  3. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, and cardamom throughout. And add the water to baking dish to keep chicken moist.
  4. Bake for 1 hour.
  5. For the rice pilaf, in a medium saucepan, combine the water with the spices and bay leaf.Bring to a boil;add the rice.Reduce heat;simmer, covered, for 20 minutes until rice is tender.
  6. While rice is cooking,coat a nonstick pan with the butter and saute mushrooms until soft and fragrant.Remove from heat and set aside.When rice is ready, stir into rice mixture.

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