Category Archives: North African

Recipes from Algeria and Tunisia

CHARMOULA marinade served at White House Dinner!

You’ll find a recipe for this classic Moroccan marinade in each of my books!

Obama Welcomes African Leaders for Unusual Dinner

WASHINGTON — Aug 5, 2014, 10:49 PM ET

White House dinner

“The menu featured a largely American-style dinner with hints of Africa sprinkled throughout each of the four courses.

Guests dined on chilled spiced tomato soup and socca crisps, which are made of chick peas; chopped farm-stand vegetable salad using produce from the first lady’s garden; and grilled dry-aged Wagyu beef served with chermoula, a marinade used in North African cooking, sweet potatoes and coconut milk.

Dessert was cappuccino fudge cake dressed with papaya scented with vanilla from Madagascar. American wines were also on the menu.”

July at the Kasbah

A quick recipe for  a summer dinner!

Tunisian Egg Briks

Briks are deep-fried filo turnovers, very popular in Morocco. Now that I have the time, and that Edible Flowers: a Kitchen Companion is at the publisher’s (December 2014 pub date!), I am rediscovering my “old” books, and favorite tested recipes. So much work goes into developing a good one, why reinvent the wheel???

Here is one I particularly like, even though it calls for action at the last minute. Frying the brik and serving it piping hot is part of the fun. So is eating it with your fingers and having a little egg yolk dribble down your chin! ! Briks are usually filled with an egg, a little diced onion, and chopped parsley and cilantro to taste.   I sometimes opt for a savory mix of mashed potato and tuna. Let your imagination run wild!

1 package frozen filo dough

vegetable oil for deep frying

For the filling:

1 cup onion, finely diced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley per brik

1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro per brik

12 eggs

salt and pepper to taste

wedges of lemon

Thaw the filo overnight in the refrigerator, or two hours at room temperature.  Unfold filo. Using an 8-inch bowl or plate as a template, cut filo rounds with a sharp knife.  Each sheet of filo should yield two rounds.  Place the rounds on a plate, and cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Use two filo rounds per brik.  Rewrap and refreeze any leftover filo for future use. Stack the rounds you are going to use.

Pour 1 inch of oil in a large skillet, and heat until a piece of phyllo sizzles.

Break one egg in a bowl.  The yolk must not break.

Have the chopped herbs, the chopped onion, and the spices ready.  Separate two rounds. Gently place them in the skillet, half in, and half hanging over the side.

Carefully place the egg on the half inside the pan, sprinkle with cilantro, onion, parsley, and salt and pepper.  Quickly fold over the other half of filo to form a turnover, and hold the edges sealed with a fork.

Using two spatulas, turn the brik over gently to fry the other side until golden brown.  Remove immediately, drain well on paper towel, decorate, and place on serving plate with a wedge of lemon.

Variation: Try a little Mexican salsa over the egg, instead of the herbs.
From The Vegetarian Table: North Africa (Chronicle Books 1998) by Kitty Morse.

PS: While I am at it:


I had had several requests for information about tours to Morocco lately. I am happy to share the name of the travel agent who handled 18 of my 24 tours. Just send me an e-mail.



You can consuult the  Travelling to Morocco page on this website, and sign up for a phone consultation. I do not recommend latest hotels and eateries (there are dozens and dozens) but I can suggest what to do and not to do in the cities you visit. My fee is USD100 an hour, payable by Paypal.

ALO Magazine/Mint Tea and Minarets

MInt Tea and MInarets and recipes reviewed in

Alo magazine is dedicated to the Middle East and North Africa:

“ALO magazine has served as a forum for understanding the Middle Eastern culture and

a tool for those within to keep true to their heritage. Despite the world’s disorder and

conflict, ALO’s central focus remains unchanged: maintaining editorial integrity while

striving to push the publication’s quality ever higher each quarter. – See more at:



Happy Thanksgiving from the kasbah


Happy Thanksgiving!


Photography by Owen Morse

Squash and Sweet Potato Purée with Red Bell Pepper Confetti

I can hardly believe that November has come around again. Somehow, the fact has difficulty sinking in when it is 90 degrees outside. It’s a little jarring to walk into a store and find row upon row of shelves stacked with benevolent Santas.

     November also means that Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year, is just around the corner. This most American holiday turned into a multi-cultural experience for a group of American travelers on one of my tours. On that day, I had planned to be at the iconic Palais Salam Hotel, a renovated Moorish palace within the ramparts of Taroudant, an historic town in southern Morocco.

I explained to the chef the purpose of the annual day of thanks earlier that morning. He nodded once or twice, promptly gathered his staff, and disappeared into the hotel’s cavernous kitchen. Members of my tour took the opportunity to spend their free time combing the medina (old town) for anything that would bring to mind pilgrims, from feathers for their hair, to billowy skirts, Moroccan-style backless slippers, and artisanal pitchforks. They planned their entrance during dinner, to the amazement of stunned French guests. I overheard whispers of “Ces Américains!” as the twenty “pilgrims” took a seat at a table laden with pumpkins and squashes, as well as paper turkeys I had brought from the US for the occasion.

     Applause erupted on all sides when a group of beaming waiters in starched white coats marched in, holding aloft not one, but two, glistening, honey-basted turkeys studded with crimson hibiscus blossoms. The stuffing? The chef had given it a Moroccan twist – a blend of sweetened couscous, plump raisins and chopped dates faintly touched with cinnamon. Perhaps the most memorable moment arrived when a young waiter came up to me as we were leaving, and asked:

     “Madame, the American turkey it is very tasty, but can I have the paper ones to take home?”

     Why not try a Moroccan-inspired side dish for your Thanksgiving turkey? For this special occasion, I would like to share a recipe from my latest book, Mint Tea and Minarets: A Banquet of Moroccan Memories (November 2012) (, or at


Squash and Sweet Potato Purée with Red Bell Pepper Confetti

Serves 4

1½ pounds butternut, Mediterranean, or winter squash

2 medium sweet potatoes

½ cup milk or broth

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ras el hanoot spice blend 

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, finely diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and finely diced

1 teaspoon sugar


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place squash and sweet potatoes on baking sheet. Bake until soft, about 1 hour. Cool, peel, and scoop seeds from squash. Peel sweet potatoes. Puree vegetables with ricer or potato masher. Transfer to a medium saucepan. Stir in broth, salt, and ras el hanoot. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, for the confetti, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, pepper, and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are lightly caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir half the confetti into the puree. Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with remaining confetti.

 Note: Ras el hanout (lit. "top of the shop"), is a traditional Moroccan spice blend, often available in specialty food stores. Consult another of my cookbooks, Cooking at the Kasbah, for a recipe.


copyright Kitty Morse 2012

Belated October post/pomegranates

  Finally! Two advance copies of Mint Tea and Minarets: A Banquet of Moroccan Memories arrived at our front door. A couple of thousand more should arrive from Hong Kong by November 20, 2012.
    With  327 pages, 32 original recipes, and 99 food and location photographs, the hefty, perfect bound paperback weighs in at 2 lbs 3oz.  culminating a ten year challenge of writing something else besides a cookbook. Along the way, I discovered that memoir writing is not for the faint of heart, that perseverance bordering on obssession is of paramount importance, as are an eagle-eyed husband (also photographer, recipe tester, and cheerleader-in-chief) insightful and patient friends, and discerning editors. For a preview of the contents, click on the cover of the book.
    Free shipping on all orders in the US until December 31, 2012. I would be delighted to send you a signed copy.
    No Kindle or Nook edition yet. The technology doesn't do justice to the photographs.

     Aren't pomegranates the most regal of fruits? During this pomegranate season, I' like to share my husband's latest addiction: Couscous with Pomegranate Seeds,  which he eats for dessert or for breakfast.Spiny pomegranate shrubs grew prolifically in the Holy Land. Its fruit was a symbol of fertility. Tyrian master craftsman, Huram, decorated columns in King Solomon’s palace with hundreds of bronze pomegranates. Stylized blue, gold and purple pomegranates adorned the ephods (vests) worn by temple priests. To order, go to http://www. The book is also available in Kindle version. For a signed copy, contact me directly. This simple recipe is excerpted from A Biblical Feast.

 Serves 1
1/4 cup couscous
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
Buttermilk or almond milk
Sugar, if desired
In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add couscous in a stream. Cover and let stand 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool and fluff with a fork.
Mix couscous with pomegranate seeds and sugar, if using. Serve with buttermilk.