There is no Moroccan city, town or village which does not have a souk or at least in the smaller villages a weekly market where people can do their shopping for food supplies. On our recent trip to Meknes we visited the covered food hall which is by far one of the nicest I have been to in Morocco.
There are rows and rows of sweets and pastries, olives, fruit and vegetables, many varieties of dates, spices and various meats.
Morocco is all about fresh ingredients and I think fresh fruit and veggies probably make up most of everyone’s weekly shopping basket. It is relatively easy then to make nutritious meatless meals with good seasonal ingredients.
This is a perfect Meat Free Monday meal, an easy vegetable and barley dish using seasonal vegetables.
Barley or “belboula” is a common grain in Morocco, used to make soups, breads and couscous or in dishes like this cream of barley soup. Barley is a wonderfully healthy grain, full of valuable nutrients and a great source of fibre and selenium.
The amounts are not specific, but use any veg you like and you could very well add some meat or chicken if you so wished.
1 small onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
Handful of mushrooms, sliced
A few beans, sliced
Small bunch of celery, finely chopped
Small bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 cups quick cooking barley
2 cups stock
3 Tbs Olive Oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced
½ teaspoon each : ground pepper, cumin, paprika and ground ginger
Heat the olive oil in a flat pan or large saucepan. Gently fry the onions until translucent then add the garlic, thyme and spices. Fry for a few minutes before adding the rest of the veggies. Fry these for about 5 minutes; you don’t want them too soft. Add the barley and mix through. Add the stock, cover lightly with some foil or a lid and cook for about 10 minutes. Season to taste.
You could also serve this as a side dish. These quantities served 4 as a light meal, so adjust accordingly.