While some culinary enthusiasts do not seem too wild about okra, the vegetable is rich with nutrients.
Rabat – If I am ever asked to describe Morocco’s cuisine, my answer will be simple: Morocco’s culinary art is a rich repertoire of colors and different flavors.
If you have ever visited Morocco or are planning to after the COVID-19 crisis, you have probably already heard about the culinary art in the North African country.
Moroccan tagines are the gems of Morocco’s cuisine. They are the most important dishes you could try while visiting the North African country.
The word tagine does not only refer to lamb or chicken dishes, because there are so many various ingredients that you can use to prepare a delicious tagine.
The tagine gets its name from the dish in which it is cooked, and the contents are up to the chef.
Today’s MWN recipe will be for Moroccan molokhia, melokhia, or okra tagine.
You might have come across the word molokhia before since it is also common in the Middle East, especially in Egypt.
But the word does not always indicate the same dish.
In Egypt, the word melokhia or mulukhiyah refers to leaves of Corchorus olitorius. It is used as a vegetable in some dishes with chicken or can be used in soup.
In Morocco, melokhia usually refers to a tagine.
If you don’t have a tagine pot, you can use a pressure cooker to make the magic happen.
The quantity of ingredients for Moroccan melokhia tagine depends on how much okra you will use and also the quantity of lamb.
I personally love the melokhia dish with lamb, given its strong and delicious flavor.
Here are the ingredients you will need for your okra tagine:
500 grams of okra
1 kilogram of lamb
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon of pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of ginger powder
A handful of parsley
1 tomato, chopped to tiny pieces
2 to 3 tablespoons of cooking oil
How to turn your ingredients into delicious melokhia tagine
In your tagine pot or pressure cooker, put your chopped onion, meat, oil, and spices on low heat.
After cooking the ingredients on low heat for about five to seven minutes, add your tomatoes, mix the ingredients again, and cook for five more minutes.
After that, add a large cup of water.
Now, close your pressure cooker or tagine to give your lamb a chance to cook halfway.
By now, you should have your melokhia clean and ready to go.
You will have to remove the small stem at the top of your okra pieces before you add them to your pressure cooker or tagine.
The okra cooks very quickly, so stay alert and make sure your lamb is cooked before adding it to the tagine pot or pressure cooker.
Once the lamb is cooked, add your melokhia and cook for 10 to 13 minutes. Melokhia is fragile and cooks quickly so do not keep it on heat for more than 13 or 15 minutes, unless you realize it obviously needs more time.
Add another tablespoon of olive oil for better taste if you want to fully enjoy the traditional delicious Moroccan dish .
You can use the same ingredients with the same method, simply leaving out the meat, if you are a vegan or vegetarian. You will need to combine all of your ingredients, until you make sure your onion and tomatoes are well cooked, before adding okra. You can also use tiny pieces of garlic for extra flavor.
Besides the taste, melokhia is full of nutrients and antioxidants. The nutrients in the vegetable can serve to lower the risk of heart disease and keep blood sugar levels down.