This is a take on the Italian classic ratatouille which is an old favourite of mine since my Mum introduced me to it in the 1970’s. She used to call it ‘Rats’ which always unnerved dinner guests at our house!
It’s quite easy to adapt ratatouille to have a Moroccan flavour about it; just add certain spices, apricots, almond and olives. Oh yes, and some lemon and coriander (cilantro). I was going to add chick peas to make it a more substantial dish but opted for butter beans instead as I didn’t have any chick peas in the cupboard – a most unusual state of affairs!
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 courgette, chopped
- ½ aubergine (eggplant), chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ras el hanout
- Handful of dried apricots, halved
- Small handful of almond, blanched and peeled (toasted if you can be bothered!)
- ½ can of tomatoes
- ½ a lemon, sliced
- 1 can butter beans
- Handful of black olives
- Coriander (cilantro) to garnish
For the cous cous:
- 1 ½ cups cous cous (I prefer the wholegrain type)
- 2 ¾ water
- 3 tsp harissa sauce (I like Belazu Rose Harissa)
Lightly fry all the chopped vegetables together with the garlic and spices until they begin to soften. Add the rest of the ingredients except the butter beans and olives (and coriander) and cook on a low heat for 30 minutes. Take care to stir occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick. Add the butter beans and olives and cook for a further five minutes while you make the cous cous.
Put the cous cous in a glass bowl and pour the boiling water onto it. Stir and cover for five minutes. After that, fluff the cous cous up with a fork and stir in the harissa.
Serve the cous cous and ratatouille piping hot and garnish with a generous pinch of chopped coriander. Then light a joss stick, settle down and pretend you are in a cafe just off the Jamaa el Fna, the square and market place in Marrakesh’s medina quarter. Well it’s cheaper than flying to Marrakech!