Picture a warm summer day with kebabs on the grill…
I visited a Turkish restaurant in Cleveland, OH. After that, I was inspired! The seasonings were so delicious. Moroccan food is so full of flavor, and so diverse.
Moroccan food got its flavors from the spice trade
This diversity comes as no surprise given Morocco’s spice trade. Plus the key geographical location on the Mediterranean coast. Among its culinary and cultural influences we have Berber, Mediterranean, Moorish, and Arabic. No matter the dish, their food has a myriad of flavors. Morocco was part of the spice trade. The food reflects that. The most popular spices are: cinnamon, cumin, saffron, ginger, turmeric, sweet paprika, hot peppers, anise seed, and white and black pepper. These spices are still purchased in the market to ensure maximum freshness.
Kebabs are an ancient food.
Today’s Moroccan inspired beef kebabs are made with my very own authentic Moroccan spice blend: ras el hanout. As for the origins of kebabs, we can really go back to our ancestors. They roasted meat on a spit. In the epic poem The Iliad, Homer references roasting meat on a spit. The Greek island of Santorini produced stone supports for skewers, dating from the 17th century B.C. Ibn Battuta, a Moroccan traveler, noticed kebabs were eaten during the Delhi sultanate (1206-1526). Even commoners were eating kebabs with naan.
According to Merriam Webster dictionary, the word kebab is derived from Urdu (the language of Pakistan), Turkish, and Persian. Its first known use dates to 1673 to describe a grilled meat dish on a skewer. Kebabs also included seafood, or ground meat shaped into an oval or even a patty. These skewers sometimes contained fruit or vegetables.
Enjoy kebabs with your friends and family
Enjoy Moroccan food communally. People eat out of the same cooking pot/platter. The diverse flavors make Moroccan food an adventure for the palate. These Moroccan inspired beef kebabs are perfect for dinner on a summer night. Take them to a picnic, they will be a hit.
Here are the step to make great Moroccan kebabs:
Step 1: Gather all your ingredients and have them chopped, sliced, cut up and ready to go.
Step 2: In a bowl mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, Moroccan spice blend, cracked pepper and cilantro. Pour this mixture over the beef.
Step 3: Mix with the beef cubes until well combined. Refrigerate for 2 hours to marinate.
Step 4: Slide the onions, tomatoes ( cut in halves), mushrooms and beef onto the skewers. I like to use kebab style skewers. They are flat and wide so the ingredients won’t slide around. Pro tip: Microwave the mushrooms for about a minute on high to make them slightly softer. This will help them from cracking and splitting when you slide them on the skewers. Grill 6-7 minutes on each side until a nice char in on the edges. Enjoy!
If you would like to try other Moroccan dishes, here are a few options:
Moroccan saffron chicken: the delicate taste of saffron shines through in this recipe.
For an easy to make bread recipe, try Moroccan country bread.
A hearty soup of chickpeas and lentils: Harira.
The classical Moroccan lamb dish: tagine.
Moroccan Inspired Beef Kebabs
Kebabs always say summer to me. This recipe for Moroccan inspired kebabs are delicious and easy to make. I used my very own blend of authentic Moroccan spice blend: ras el hanout. Other goodies on the skewer are sweet onion, mushrooms and tomato.
- 1 1/2 lbs sirloin cubed into 1 1/2 inch chunks
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp authentic Moroccan spice blend ras el hanout
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cracked pepper
- 2 Tbsp cilantro chopped
- 12 mushrooms
- 2 sweet onion cut into chunks
- 4 tomatoes small, cut into halves
- 1 5.8 oz couscous box
- 2 Tbp parsley chopped
In a large bowl mix together olive oil, lemon juice, Moroccan spice blend, cracked pepper, salt and cilantro.
Add the cubed beef to the bowl and mix thoroughly then refrigerate for 2 hours.
Assemble kebabs by alternating beef, mushrooms, onion and tomatoes.
Tip: If you microwave the mushrooms for about 1 minute they will get slightly soft and less likely to crack when you slide them on the skewer.
Heat the grill to medium high.
Cook the kebabs about 6-7 minutes on each side. The edges should have a nice char.
Prepare couscous according to package instructions.
Garnish couscous with parsley.
If your skewers are large the mushrooms might split. Microwave the mushrooms for 1-2 minutes on high to soften them before sliding on the skewers.