How’s it going my friends? I hope you’re having a great week and that you’ve had a stellar summer.
We are getting closer and closer to the official beginning of Autumn and if you’re like me, that means that you’re either in school or someone in your family is back in school.
Today’s recipe is one that reminds me very much of my high school years, in Meknes. I spent 3 wonderful years in that fantastic city and Maakouda is one of the many souvenirs I have kept.
My High School Sandwich
As it is the tradition on My Moorish Plate, every recipe comes with a story. My aim is to introduce as many Moroccan recipes & culture at the same time in order to get you to know my country of origin.
I used to get out of class at 5.00 p.m. and the walk about 30 minutes to get home.
30 minutes! It doesn’t seem like much right now, but for a starving teenager, that might as well have been a 2-day walk. On the way home, we used to pass this old sandwich shop that, you guessed it, used to make Maakouda sandwiches.
It was the cheapest option, and by far the most satisfying one. For 5 Dirhams ($ 0.55 USD), I used to get myself a little sandwich that looked somewhat like this one.
Okay maybe it didn’t look as nice as this one, but it was just as yummy.
I was in high school, I did not have any money, and my friends and I used to take turns buying each other sandwiches. And yes, sometimes we only had enough change for one sandwich and we used to share.
The crazy part is after a while, even when I had enough money to afford a meatier kind of sandwich, I still wanted Maakouda sandwiches.
What is Maakouda?
Maakouda is a savory Moroccan Potato Beignet, deep fried in oil and usually served in a small baguette. It’s the typical street food of Meknes, the wine capital of North-Africa. It’s cheap, tasty and widely available.
In a way, it’s like the Moroccan/Algerian falafel, except far less popular outside of those two countries.
It’s also a great way to reuse your leftover mashed or baked potatoes.
Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, this moroccan recipe is sure to please!
- 3 medium size russet potatoes about 500g
- Handful of coriander
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp ras al hanout OPTIONAL but highly recommended
- 1 tsp turmeric
- About a cup of flour to coat your fritters
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3 cups frying oil of your choice. I used grape seed oil.
Peel and dice your potatoes into roughly 1-inch squares. Place in microwave-safe bowl with a plate on top and cook on high heat for 8 minutes or until soft (if you don't have a microwave, boil until soft).
Finely chop coriander (or any other fresh herb you'd prefer), set aside.
Let the potatoes cool enough for you to be able to handle them, and then mash them until completely smooth. Add your egg and chopped coriander to the cool mashed potatoes. Add salt, turmeric, ras al hanout, salt, pepper, baking powder and mix thoroughly. Add half of the flour onto a plate, set aside the other half and use as needed.
Shape equal amounts of mashed potato mixture into a ball and flatten slightly. Coat flattened potato mixture in flour, set aside. Repeat until you're out of mashed potatoes.
Heat up frying oil in a small pot, wok or small sauce pan on medium-high heat. Add 3-4 fritters at a time, keep turning them around until they're golden (about 3 minutes) then let them cool on a cooling rack, continue with the next batch.
How I like to enjoy them
Make Harissa Mayonnaise:
2 Tbsp of Mayonnaise + 1 1/2 Tsp of Harissa + A squeeze of fresh lemon. Mix all together and set aside.
Cut open a small baguette or ciabatta. You can use any bread you like. Scoop 1 tbsp of your harissa mayo and spread it over your bread. Take 3-4 fritters and push them into your bread. Top with fresh tomato slices (or cubes), a few thin cucumber slices, some fresh coriander and some more harissa mayo.
You can use any combination of flavours you like to make your sandwich. A common thing I used to see is mortadella, egg and maakouda sandwiches. Your options are endless, enjoy!