Saturday, September 09, 2006

Please give me some lamb

Couscous with Lamb Stew is a very famous dish in France. My husband's grandma can make it really well. She is a French born in Algeria and lived there for many years.
I never got a chance to steal some cooking secrets from her.

So, Moroccan-style Couscous with Chicken in this picture on the right, is the fruit of my trial and errors.

Why chicken?
Frozen Lamb is only available at Itaewon at an Indian supermarket, 1 hour away from my place. That translates into no lamb in my couscous dish. But I miss lamb. I can never understand why anyone would not like it. In fact, lots of people find the smell offensive. I simply love the taste AND the smell. Just give me lamb-anything: mutton satays, grilled lamb chops, Taiwanese style lamb-stew with herbs and best of all, lamb curry.

Back to Moroccan-style couscous with any meat stew. The main ingredient is Ras el Hanout. In arabic, it means "top of the shop" or in other words, "best of the shop". The shop usually creates their own blend. It is a complex blend with as few as 12 and up to 100 different ingredients. The composition for any Ras el Hanout varies.

You can also make your own Ras el Hanout. However, given the numberous ingredients involved, it would be best to leave this to the spice maker to source them. Some of the ingredients are cumin,coriander, cinnamon, anise, cloves, rose buds, ginger, nutmeg, cayenne, peppercorns, mace, cardamom, nigella and turmeric.

I got my Ras el Hanout from a supermarket in France in the spice section. If you need to get some, it is probably available in middle eastern grocery stores.

I'll post the recipe of my dish next time. A bientot!