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How to Cook Healthy Moroccan Food at Home

Moroccan food, which borrows inspiration from Mediterranean and Middle Eastern culture, is exotic and diverse, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it in your own home as part of a healthy diet.

Moroccan food uses very distinct flavors and spices, such as cumin, coriander, saffron, chiles, dried ginger, cinnamon, and paprika, all of which give a flavor boost without adding fat or calories.

Start Your Meal with Mint Tea

You’ve probably heard diet tips that tell you to drink a full glass of water or eat an apple before beginning a meal to curb your appetite. In Morocco, green tea is a cultural sign of hospitality, friendship and tradition. People drink it throughout the day, so why not begin your meal with a calorie-free cup of tea?

Green tea alone contains a number of health benefits and mint has been said to help aid digestion. Of all of the various types of tea available, green tea is the least processed and has the freshest, lightest taste.

Preserve Lemons

When you imagine the flavor of lemons, you probably think of the sour sensation that accompanies taking a bite of a raw lemon or a not-sweet-enough lemonade.  Preserved lemons, however, have a mild, pickled flavor fundamental to North African cooking. You can use them in stews, tagines and salads and while they can be hard to find, they’re easy to make. The Orgasmic Chef has a great tutorial and recipe for how to preserve lemons with salt and a clean glass jar.

Take the Intimidation out of Tagines

One of the most noted types of Moroccan cooking is tagine, a method of slow-cooking, typically in a cone-shaped clay pot that traps and distributes moisture over low heat. Tagines are thick stews, made with meat, vegetables and a variety of unique ingredients like preserved lemons, garlic, capers, curry, dried fruit and ginger.

Tagine is fairly healthy as it is but you can up the nutrition anti in your next Moroccan stew by using protein-packed quinoa instead of starchy rice or couscous and add plenty of healthy vegetables, like broccoli, chard and tomatoes. For a weeknight dinner perfect for lunch the next day, try a Moroccan Vegetable Tagine from Summer Tomato or a Sweet Potato & Mango Tagine from The Comfy Cook.

Try some homemade Moroccan cuisine at home with these recipes:

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Moroccan Chicken Recipe

Warm Winter Veggie Moroccan Tagine

Grilled Moroccan Pork Tenderloin

 

View How to Cook Healthy International Cuisine Slideshow

August 27th, 2011

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