Tandoori style cooking with Moroccan flavors & spices to inspire the culinary richness that South Asian & North African cultures share.
Moroccan Ras El Hanout – the milder sister of the Indian Tandoori & Garam Masala. About 18-27 different spices are grounded to create this gorgeous orange/red hued unique blend, with each local vendor developing his/her own variation. Through tastes tests, I found Moroccan spice blends to have a more sweet floral note and Indian spice blends to flair up the nostrils with the fiery “garam” notes.
I was lucky to have a work colleague of mine visit Morocco (pre-Covid), and explore the street markets, to gift me with some traditional Moroccan spices after returning. Ras El Hanout and Saffron being them, the most expensive spice in world. While I don’t use saffron in this dish for monetary (and overly-protective lol) reasons, it meshes really well with this blend to surface a honey-like floral aroma.
As so happily shared in conversation amongst friends & colleagues who’ve been there: Morocco represents rich culture, endless local markets, empirical history, flavorful foods (couscous!), Euro Arabic vibes, & breezy Mediterranean coasts. Even one of my all time favorite books, The Alchemist, gives a nod to this beautiful country. I’ve only dreamed since hearing about it, but a definite add to my travel bucket-list!
∗TIPS & VARIATIONS FOR THIS RECIPE∗
- Substitute Moroccan Spice Blend with any Tandoori or Curry Spice Blend to make it spicier/Indian inspired and follow along with same recipe/prep.
- Ras El Hanout is NOT the same as Moroccan Spice Blend (often mislabeled/gentrified as I’ve learned through experimentation). Ras El Hanout can be found in any international store, online retailers, and Target. I’m happy to confirm your purchase if needed!
- Be creative with veggies! You can also skewer onions, olives, grape/cherry tomatoes, etc.
- Make this dish vegetarian by using plant based meats, tofu, or paneer cubes.
- Soaking Bamboo Skewers in warm water for at least 30 minutes helps prevent flames & extreme burning and breaking during cooking process!
- Garnish cooked kabobs with chopped mint & cilantro. Mix those garnishes in with chopped cucumber and plain yogurt for a quick cool dipping sauce!
PREP: 30 minutes MARINATION: 30 minutes minimum to 8 hours COOK TIME: 15 minutes YIELD: ~15 skewers
- 3 large boneless/skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 Red Bell Peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 Green Bell Peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1-2 Zucchinis, cut into thick circle or semi-circle pieces
- 1/2 cup Plain Yogurt
- 1½ tbsp. Minced Garlic
- 1½ tbsp. Grated Ginger
- 1 tbsp. minced Thai Green Chilies (optional, but highly recommended!)
- 1/2 tsp. Dried Mint
- 4 tbsp. Ras El Hanout Moroccan Spice Blend
- 1 tsp. Salt (to taste)
- 1 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
- 3 tbsp. Lime Juice (can be bottled or fresh)
- Olive Oil
- Bamboo Skewers
- In large bowl, mix together plain yogurt, garlic, ginger, Thai green chilies, dried mint, 3 tbsp. of Ras El Hanout Moroccan Spice Blend, salt, ground black pepper, and lime juice. Adjust to taste as needed.
- Add chicken pieces into marinade and coat. Cover & refrigerate for 30 minutes, preferably 8 hours for best taste.
- Soak ~15 bamboo skewers in warm water for 30 minutes minimum.
- When ready to cook kabobs, toss vegetables in 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. Ras El Hanout Moroccan Spice Blend.
- Starting 2 inches from bottom and leaving 1 inch at top, thread bamboo skewers with vegetables & chicken pieces, until all skewers are filled. Be creative with your pattern!
- Cook Chicken Kabobs
Method 1 − Grill (15 mins): Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Carefully spray grill with non-stick cooking spray. Cook kabobs for 10-12 minutes, flipping kabobs at half way mark to other side. Depending on grill, adjust time as needed, until chicken is cooked through. Repeat for all.
Method 2 − Oven Broiler (15 mins): Preheat oven broiler to HIGH. Foil line large sheet tray and lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray. Spaced apart and in single layer, place 6-7 kabobs on sheet pan. Broil for 10-12 minutes, flipping kabobs at half way mark to other side. Depending on oven, adjust time as needed, until chicken is cooked through. Repeat for all.
- Serve and enjoy!