Let’s head to Morocco for a very popular cooked salad called taktouka.
The Moroccan table
A stone’s throw from Europe, this North African country, where hospitality is supreme, offers an infinite variety of flavors, aromas and colors
Moroccan cuisine is the result of a fusion of tastes and flavors transmitted from generation to generation and influenced by the Arab, Moorish, Berber, Andalusian, Ottoman and African traditions, but above all it is an art of living and an art for the women !
In Morocco, eating is a real ritual and food rhymes with vitality and sharing.
Moroccan cuisine takes shape with a wide variety of recipes. The most famous are the innumerable tajines, couscous, pastilla, harira, and lamb and chicken in all their forms. All accompanied by excellent breads of all kinds such as harcha, even baghrir and to finish with sweets such as almond cigars, cornes de gazelle, chebakia (griwech) oranges with cinnamon, makroude and other delicacies.
A typical meal starts with a series of hot and cold salads, followed by a tajine or dwaz (tajine of vegetables and meat, dwaz means “to sauce”).
The delicious taktouka reigns supreme among all the succulent salads that make up the Moroccan table.
Among all those salads that offer an incomparable mosaic of colors are zaalouk, a delicious aubergine dip where zucchini can sometimes replace eggplant.
Bessara, a split pea dish that can be reduced to the consistency of a soup, but also to a consistency of dip that is reminiscent of the texture and taste of hummus.
Serrouda, a dish of chickpeas in sauce, often served as an appetizer.
Kahrmus, which is a spicy aubergine dip, reduced to a purée and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and spices.
Aubergine mdarbal consists of fried eggplants, crushed with a fork and cooked a second time in the pan.
Mangoub, which is a delicious spicy bean salad that be enjoyed hot or cold.
The carrot salad with charmoula, the same charmoula that is used for married sardines, which are also very often part of all these succulent small appetizers.
The salad of ren’j (bitter oranges), typical of the region of Fez, scented with garlic, lemon and olive oil.
The salad of zitoune meslalla mchermel which is prepared with olives and charmoula.
The salad of grilled peppers with argan oil, a specialty of the region of Agadir but famous throughout Morocco.
Orange salad with black olives.
The typical Moroccan vegetable salad, very easy to prepare as it is mostly composed of tomatoes, cucumbers, a touch of lemon juice, salt and pepper. It often incorporates black olives and preserved lemon.
Now let’s talk more about the star of all these salads: taktouka.
What is taktouka?
Taktouka is a salad or side dish that is very easy to make and is just delicious. It is usually served warm but can also be served cold. It can accompany grilled meat or fish, but also a tajine or a couscous. Or you can just dip some bread in it! This zesty salad is prepared with roasted bell peppers that add a subtle smokiness that is just perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the tomatoes.
Taktouka vs. shakshuka
Shakshuka, which originated in Tunisia and is now very popular in Israel, is a similar dish to taktouka but it is saucier and spicier and may include merguez as well as a poached egg on top. Shakshuka is also known as sciakisciuka in Sicily, specifically on the small island of Pantelleria, off the coast of Tunisia. Shakshuka is also more often served as a main dish than a salad.
Although most taktouka recipes call for green peppers, it is also prepared with red peppers in some regions and families.
I prepared this taktouka recipe for my Moroccan cooking class, with the help of my friend and co-host Yasmina.
- 6 red and green bell peppers
- 2 jalapenos , finely diced (optional)
- 10 tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 4 cloves garlic , pressed
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons chopped cilantro (to garnish)
- Roast the whole peppers on a gas flame or BBQ, or alternatively broil them in the oven. Then, place them in a plastic bag for 10 minutes to sweat them.
- In the meantime, dice the tomatoes and sauté them in pan with olive oil until all the water is evaporated, about 10 minutes.
- While the tomatoes are cooking, peel and clean the peppers from the seeds and stem. Finely dice them.
Once the tomatoes are cooked, add the peppers, sugar, garlic, and paprika.
Cook for about 20 minutes on high heat while stirring.
Lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours while stirring occasionally.
Garnish with chopped cilantro (optional)