Sunday, 6 May 2018

Mel's Moroccan Mince With Pistachio Gravel

Our friend Mel who runs the Vanilla Zulu Cooking School in our local village has started up a 12 week Cooking Challenge to help us all sexy-up our food.  Is that a word?:=)  So I am attempting to make her weekly recipe and blog it.  For 12 weeks?  Eek!  We shall see how I go.  I may not get to doing it every week, or it may end up being a quick kamikaze blog post each week. 

First up is this Moroccan mince which I decided to give a slight Mexican twist.  So here we have my Moroccan/Mexican Mince with some nutty bling on top.  Mel is very keen on foodie/gourmet bling for her cuisine.  Truthfully, I'm not much into bling - food or otherwise, but I gave it a go.  Oh, and I decided to make it into a sort of pseudo-Mexican nachos.  

tasty Moroccan mince with a Mexican twist

Serves 4-6:


1/2-1 tbs olive oil

800g. lean minced beef

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

1 small zucchini (about 145g.), grated or finely chopped - or use the vegetable of your choice

1 tbs ras-el-hanout spice mix

1 tsp turmeric

1 tin (400g.) tomatoes or chop up a couple of small fresh ones

2 tbs tomato paste

1 tin (400g,) chick peas, drained and rinsed

1 tsp stock powder - I used chicken but use beef or veg. if you prefer

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp lemon zest

Gravel ingredients:

30g. (=1 large handful=2 tbs) of shelled pistachios, toasted

zest of 1 lime

a few dried edible rosebuds

1-2 tbs currants or sultanas

a very big pinch, maybe 1/4 tsp smoked salt or plain sea salt

2-3 tsp lightly dried parsley

To serve:

1 packet lightly-salted corn chips

4-5 large dollops of thick Greek yoghurt

1-2 tsp lime-pressed olive oil 


Add the oil to a large skillet and heat up on high

Place your fluffed-up mince into the pan, evenly

Now let it sit!  Do not stir, do not toss it around, leave it for 10-15 minutes - thus spake Mel, and yes it works

Now throw in the onion and garlic and stir into the mince

Cook down for a few minutes on medium heat till it starts to look tender

Stir in the zucchini and cook for a few more minutes

Add the ras-el-hanout and turmeric, tomatoes and tomato paste

Now you add the chickpeas, plus the stock powder, salt, pepper and lemon zest

Let it cook away for several minutes to meld together

If using for nachos, grab a pie plate and spread corn chips over the base

Spoon on the mince mixture and then add another layer of corn chips and mince

Whack into the oven at 190C for about 20-25 mins.

Splash on the yoghurt and oil mix, and sprinkle over the bling


If you're in a hurry, just grab your small processor and blitz the veg.

Serve with rice if you prefer

ingredients gathered

spread the mince evenly across your pan 

after 10-15 mins, add the onion and garlic

add in tomatoes and paste

zest your lemon and in it goes

ready for the bling

toast your nuts for a few minutes in a small, dry pan

now crush 'em with gusto (and a pestle)

stir the bling together

stir the lime (or lemon) olive oil into the yoghurt

throw on the bling, me hearties

This was an excellent and fairly quick mid-week dinner.  (Much faster if you don't have to photograph and blog it.)  Give it a go, folks.  Great to learn a new technique - i.e. NOT stirring the mince for the first 10 minutes.  Scary but it worked.  Let's see what next week's challenge brings:=)


  1. Your Moroccan-Mexican combo sounds perfectly logical to me. The Spanish peninsula was occupied by Arab (some Moroccan) people for centuries, which influenced their cuisine, language, and architecture. Ferdinand and Isabella, monarchs of Spain, expelled the last Moslem rulers in 1492, just as they hired Columbus to go find a new world. And they brought spices with them, as well as working with the native central and south American spices. So very logical! (I'm not sure about the corn chips, though, I think they are more recent and not in the same spirit.

    best... mae at

    1. Hi Mae
      Phew you were quick off the mark today:). Yes I think corn chips and nachos may be a recent invention but delicious:). Thanks for stopping by. Cheers.

  2. Pistachio and mince-what an interesting idea! And Vanilla Zulu is definitely a memorable name :)

    1. Mel is from Zimbabwe and she is white, so vanilla zulu fits her:) It was an interesting meal, and the gravel went well with it. cheers S

  3. Fabulous! Moroccan or Mexican - they both rock!

  4. oooh love this moroccan take on nachos! i'd probably add olives because i'm a sucker for them (:

  5. Great idea to mix Mexican and Moroccan. They really do share a lot of the same ingredients, just a bit different emphasis in each cuisine. So putting them together is brilliant! This looks wonderful -- thanks.

    1. thanks KR. It was a tasty, fun dinner. cheers


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