Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Moroccan Family Eats Fajitas

As a pitiful attempt to say thank you for all of the food that's been prepared for me, I made one of my favorite dishes for my Moroccan family: fajitas!!! In the great tradition of blogging cooking shows, I thought I would share the experience with you.


This culinary exercise was an adventure in substitutions. I wanted to make homemade tortillas to go along with the fajitas (Steve and I are sort of famous for our homemade tortillas), but I couldn't find shortening anywhere. Or lard. Or anybody who knew what either of those things were... So, I had to use butter.

(You will be happy to know that I even bought this butter all by myself with my mad Arabic skills. "Nuss kilo zebda." That means, "Half kilo butter.")


I mixed the butter with flour, salt, and baking powder (trying to describe baking powder in the grocery store was another adventure...).


Brahim provided this picture (and most of the other ones). This shot is to prove that I, in fact, was the one preparing the food.

Note to readers interested in making tortillas: using butter is slightly more difficult than using shortening. The shortening is softer and easier to mix with the other ingredients (I even left the butter out overnight, to no avail).


While the tortilla dough sat (they taste better if the dough is allowed to rest for a while), I chopped yellow peppers...


and red peppers...


and green ones.


I did the onions last because they make me cry.


I peeled the outer layers of the onions off with my hands. Brahim thought that was hilarious. I'm not sure why. He was really intent on taking a picture of it. (It's kind of relaxing to have somebody else take pictures of you cooking. Usually I have to stop cooking, wipe my hands, take a shot, set the camera somewhere safe, and resume cooking. I wonder if my budget would allow for a full time cooking photographer...)


Fresh garlic!!!!! Usually I have to use the stuff out of a jar. This time I got to mince it myself.


Sara helped me shape the tortillas.


That was really nice, especially since there was no tortilla press or rolling pin, and I had to press all the tortillas by hand...


We used some of the dough to make this adorable crocodile, complete with scales down his back. We're awesome.


Another picture demonstrating the difficulty of making tortillas by hand. (Hey Steve! I missed your mad skills with the tortillas press!)


We cooked the tortillas on a skillet on the gas stove. They turned out pretty well.


We covered the tortillas to keep them warm and then prepared to sautee the vegetables. The only oil we could find was olive oil, and I wasn't quite sure that was the flavor I wanted. So, we used butter.


Onions first so they get nice and tender.


Then we added the peppers and let them steam while we cooked the chicken. I was lucky enough to find a bottle of "Mexican Seasoning" at a supermarket in Marrakesh. I'm not exactly sure what was in it, but it was sufficiently fajita-ish.


We let the chicken steam to finish, and we added cilantro to the vegetables.


The final dish looked like this. The serving platter is typically used for couscous, but I took a few cultural culinary liberties...


I showed the family how to assemble the fajitas Alston style. (Steve's family spreads the sour cream on the tortilla first before adding the rest of the filling/topping.)

Note to readers: I couldn't find sour cream, so we used plain yogurt mixed with salt. I think I liked it better than sour cream.


The set up. Loubna is pretending that she doesn't notice I am taking a picture.


This is kind of a lame picture, but I wanted to show the homemade salso I made. It's in the blue tupperware tub on the left. I used canned corn, fresh tomatoes, fresh onions, cilantro, and lemon juice. Ordinarily I would have used lime juice and added black beans, but...I couldn't find them. It was still yummy.


This is Sara assembling her fajita. In addition to the "sour cream" and salsa, we also had cheese. It wasn't cheddar cheese. It was an orange hardish cheese. In fact, it was the only orange hardish cheese in the Marrakesh supermarket.

The verdict: two thumbs up from EVERY SINGLE family member, even though Brahim preferred to eat the filling with Moroccan bread instead of the tortillas. :) Wahoo!!!


Dorese said...

at a success! And look out Food Network, Super Angie is on her way! I'm way impressed with you improv-ability. Will you teach me how to make tortillas that actually look like tortillas? Muy impresada, mi amiga!

Ben and Missy said...

Those look so good. Way to go, even with all of the forced substitutions. I don't think they sell cheddar anywhere but the states (American style anyway). I have never seen it in Finland. I miss it every time we eat mexican.