With agriculture employing about 40% of Morocco's workforce, there are plenty of vegetables to choose from when it comes to Moroccan cuisine. Even if you don't live in Morocco you can still create a recipe with authentic ingredients. Here's a list of vegetables that go with Moroccan food that you should be able to find locally:
- String beans
- Bell Pepper
There are some unique vegetables that may be difficult to find outside Morocco. If you strive in your shopping efforts, however, you may find a suitable substitute:
- Slaouia, of the gourd family, yellow crookneck squash or zucchini are both suitable substitutes.
- Mallow leaves, (khoubiza or Bakula), edible leaves harvested from wild growing plants. Turnip greens, kale or spinach are often substituted.
- Aubergine, technically a berry but used as a vegetable, more commonly known outside Morocco as eggplant.
When preparing Moroccan food, fresh is best. Finding a local market with freshly stocked produce will deliver the best results and flavor. Although many vegetables are seasonal, because of California's climate, most are available year-round. California is the dominant U.S. agricultural producer, providing grocers with 70-90% of their supply. Potatoes may be the only vegetable not grown widely by California farmers. Local farmer's markets and grocers should have a steady supply of any vegetable called for in your favorite Moroccan recipe.
Although you may not be able to find the real-deal when it comes to Slaouia, mallow leaves can be found in California. However, it is unlikely that you will find them for sale at a local grocer or produce market. Instead, you will have to set out on a jaunt to find what is commonly called Cheeseweed growing wild throughout California. But you first have to know how to identify the tastier varieties. Once you harvest some from the wild, cultivate it at home in a flower bed or pot so you always have it when you need it.
For more information on how to cook Moroccan style, or to forego the work yet still enjoy these exciting flavors, please contact us. Kous Kous Morroco Bistro & Lounge always has your favorite exotic flavors on the menu.