The root of most Moroccan food can be traced back to the Berbers. Berbers have lived between North Africa; Egypt and the west coast of Morocco as far as history is recorded. It has been said that the Berbers made an impact of the food of the region long before the invasion of the Arabs and although they did revert to Islam they were keen to make the point that they were not from the Arab descent. We can all thank the Berbers for dishes such as tagines and couscous. This basic lentil recipe is a simple village dish which is usually served with a piece of bread. Black lentils have more texture and hold their shape unlike red lentils.
2 tablespoons olive oil with a slice of butter
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ras-el-hanout
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1-1/4 cups brown lentils, washed and drained
2-1/2 cups water
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1. In a 6-quart saucepan on medium heat add olive and butter. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender about 3 minutes. Add ras-el-hanout and sugar, mixing well. Add lentils, coating well.
2. Carefully add water and raise heat to high. Bring to a full boil then reduce to low. Cool for 35 minutes until almost all the liquid has absorbed. Add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and garnish top with cilantro.
Yields: 4-5 servings