When you think of Moroccan cuisine, what comes to mind? I think of my time in Granada, Spain, and the Moroccan/Moorish influence in that city. I think of the Moroccan restaurant that we tried there, where we ate outdoors under a canopy and had one of my favorite meals of all time. I think of spicy food with a hint of sweetness. I think of dried fruit, tagines, couscous, and exotic spices.
At first glance, this doesn’t look like your typical Moroccan meal because of the added avocado but the Moroccan tradition is found in the quintessential spices.
Simply put, this meal was feast of the senses: spicy chicken with the perfect compliment of creamy avocado and hearty chickpeas served over healthy grains. Its not hard to make and even quick enough for a weeknight. You might have to buy a few new spices but you’ll be glad you did after tasting this and maybe it will inspire you to make more Moroccan cuisine.
I love meals that take me to a foreign land and challenge me to cook differently than usual. I hope you are enchanted as well.
- 4 chicken breasts
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 4 servings of quinoa, cooked (or rice)
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 1 tbsp hot paprika or chili
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 3 tbsps olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 fresh serrano peppers, chopped
- 1 tsp coriander
- 2 tbsps fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Toss the chicken in the marinade until evenly coated, then cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Start your quinoa or rice. For 1 cup of quinoa add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn to med-low heat, cover and cook for about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make your avocado dip. Halve your avocados, get rid of the stones and spoon the flesh into a bowl. Add all the other dip ingredients and a pinch of salt and pepper, and mash well with a fork or a potato masher. You can make this really smooth, or rustic and chunky; it's up to you. I prefer more rustic. Have a taste to check the seasoning, then set aside.
- When you're ready to cook the chicken, heat a skillet on a medium heat. Once it's hot, add your marinated chicken pieces and cook for five minutes on each side, turning occasionally. Add chickpeas the last couple of minutes. You may also want to add a couple of tablespoons of chicken broth or water at this point. Cook chicken until cooked through and golden, with lovely char marks.
- Serve over quinoa with spicy avocado on top and a lemon wedge to squeeze over.
adapted from La Bella Cook and the Jaime Does cookbook