Posts Tagged With: Arabs

Berbe Kafta Kebabs From Morocco

Moroccan Entree



1 medium yellow onion
1 tablespoon Berbere spices (Or see recipe for BERBERE SPICE MIX)
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ tablespoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1½ pounds ground beef


Electric skillet
Wooden skewers (about 8 inches long. Size matters.)
Spice grinder (if you are making your own Berbere spice mix.)


Peel and dice onion. Put onion, Berbere spices, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, coriander, ginger, parsley, pepper, salt, and ground beef in mixing bowl. Indulge in gentle primal scream therapy as you mix everything together with your hands. Make meatballs about 1-inch across until mix is used up. Put meatballs in bowl and chill in refrigerator for at least one hour.

Cook meatballs on electric skillet at 350 degrees. Turn just often enough to ensure meatballs are no longer pink on the inside and starting to brown on the outside. Vigilance is a must. (Tasting isn’t a bad idea either. However, if you taste every meatball before your fiancé arrives, then maybe the relationship wasn’t meant to be.)

Let the meatballs cool down enough so they don’t burn your fingers. Gently place 2 or 3 meatballs on each skewer. (It is possible to pierce your hand or finger with the sharp edge of the skewer. These are wooden skewers, you say, how sharp can they be? Okay, I probably couldn’t terrify an intruder armed with a gun, but I could give him an owie he’d never forget.)

Tastes great on its own or serve with lemon wedges and Moroccan yogurt sauce. (See recipe for this.)


1) In 711, Arab armies crossed over the Straits of Gibraltar and headed northward to the Frankish Kingdom bringing all sorts of Moroccan spices with them. It is hard to say exactly what spices, as most historians, especially military, are strangely mute on this point.

2) In 732, the Frankish leader defeated the Arabs at the battle of Tours ensuring the survival of French spices and cuisine.

3) Frankish and Arab armies marched back and forth in southern France until 915, making certain the fusion of French and Moroccan spices.

4) Culinary arts stagnated during centuries of peace between France and Morocco.

5) Fortunately, French power and imperialism came back in 1907 when Gallic armies occupied Casablanca. A new round of fighting and culinary exchange between the two great nations began.

6) Unfortunately for gourmands everywhere total peace broke out in 1956 with Moroccan independence.

7) For awhile, it seemed as if the tens of thousands of brave French and Moroccan warriors who died in the cause of culinary integration had fallen in vain.

8) But you can’t keep a good spicer down. Over the next few decades, Moroccans headed to France in search of jobs, bringing their spices with them. Now you can find good French and Moroccan restaurants all over the world. Life is good.


– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hawaij, Spice Mix from Yemen

Yemeni Appetizer

(spice mix)


2 tablespoons black peppercorns
3/4 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon cardamom
2 teaspoons coriander
2 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon turmeric


spice grinder


Grind peppercorns, cloves, and caraway seeds in spice grinder. Use fork to mix peppercorn, cloves, caraway, cardamom, coriander, cumin, and turmeric in small mixing bowl. Store mixture in airtight jar.


1) According to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, cardamom is “the spice of Paradise.” It’s not clear how he knew that. Perhaps he had an Ouija board.

2) Since Ouija boards weren’t invented until the twentieth century, it’s clear Chaucer had a time machine. I would have read Canterbury Tales in High School with much more interest if I had known that.

3) According to some vague, unspecified, nebulous people, cardamom was the most popular spice in ancient Rome. Rome conquered Gaul. Gauls did not spice with cardamom. The frightening implication is clear.

4) Cardamom coffee is popular in the Arab world. The Arabs overran North Africa, the Fertile Crescent, the Spanish peninsula, Sicily, and Southern France in only 100 years. The conquering qualities of cardamom explains why it costs more than oil per ounce. Oil fuels countries’ economies, but cardamom is necessary for sheer national survival.

5) Cardamom is more popular in Sweden than any other spice. Sweden has never been conquered by a non-Nordic nation. Even nations with powerful armies respect countries with large cardamom stockpiles.

6) Cardamom is the world’s second most expensive spice. Only saffron cost more. I don’t even want to think what a global conflict over saffron would be like.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

Categories: cuisine, food, history, humor, international, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How I Will Win the Nobel Prize

The only goal not achieved from my bucket list, aside from a wine-and-chocolate book signing at the South Pole, is winning the Nobel Peace Prize. How will I achieve this ambition?

Everybody likes good food. My shakshuka, tomato-breakfast soup, is tasty. Shakshuka, is liked by Arabs and Israelis alike.  I will simply invite Morsi and Netanyahu to my humble home for breakfast. The menu will feature hot, delicious skillets of shakshuka. On the side, they can feast on homemade maple doughnuts. Who doesn’t like maple doughnuts? Who could ever again contemplate violence after eating a maple doughnut?

Nobody. The dawn of world peace is at hand.



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