You know we are in love with Morocco! Here’s another morsel why…..
The Berbers have been around for a while, the indigenous people of Morocco, and they certainly know a thing or two about breakfast! I ate these Berber eggs in a small village somewhere in the Atlas Mountains, a breathtaking region in the north of Morocco and home to Africa’s second tallest hill, Mount Atlas.
I was staying with a friend Mohammed in a little rural village; a huge white water river cut the village in two and my hosts were a gaggle of local musicians and shepherds (the two professions seem to go hand in hand perfectly). We played music late most nights, I was on didgeridoo duties, and the depth of feeling and talent that most young Moroccans have musically blew me away and my memories of these after dinner jam sessions always inspires me (see below for more music).
After one particularly late night on the music and homemade honeycomb moonshine, one of the older chaps pulled the gas canister/ cooking device into the middle of the room (we all slept together in one room on the floor). He took out a massive pan and began to fry onions and spices, the smell was intoxicating and unforgettable. I hadn’t eaten all day (bar a few dried figs). My first batch of Berber eggs were on their way and greatly appreciated. Food memories like this will never leave me, they are intertwined with all of my travel (and life) experiences. Food says so much about culture, heritage and the local environment. In many cases, if you look in the pot, you see whats happening and where you really are. The eating is just a welcome consequence.
Berber Eggs are a very simple dish and requires hardly any thought (perfect morning fodder then) but can be whipped up quickly and served any time of day. We love spices and have no problem with them first thing, ‘start as you mean to go on!’ The egg cooks well in the tomato juices, sort of like a cross between scramble and poached. The resulting eggs are soft and smooth and ideal lathered on a bread of your choice. The layer of hummus takes this dish into a certain realm of deliciousness that must be tried to fully appreciate!
Salam Alaikum, Peace be with you and Bon Appetit!
1 tbs good olive oil, 4 free range/ organic eggs, 1 onion (thinly chopped), 4 large/ ripe tomatoes (chopped into small chunks), 2 teas cumin, 1 teas turmeric, a little sea salt, 2 tbs hummus
2 thick slices of toasted bread (Moroccan round bread is of course the best)
Touch of fresh coriander to finish (not essential at all)
Heat olive oil on medium and fry off chopped onion until soft and just colouring, then add your spices and heat them for 30 seconds, stirring all the time. Then add your tomatoes and stir well, cook down unti the toms are nice and soft, lower the heat a little and add your eggs (scrambled up beforehand) to the middle and leave a little to cook (you may want to pop a lid on the pan to help here). One the eggs have cooked a little give them a stir and after a couple of minutes more cooking you are ready to munch.
On two thick pieces of warm toasted bread with a good dollop of hummus on each piece, spoon the Berber eggs over and top with a little coriander (only if you’re fancy). Then get stuck in!
We Love It!
If you are not musical yourself, after this dish you will feel like singing your heart out! It’s a real Berber beauty and full of happy memories of far off hills.
Tomatoes actually have more vitamin C when cooked, one of the only fruits/vegetables to get better with cooking (flavour aside).
Cooking without music is like eating without a spoon (or something like that anyway!) I like to listen to music relevant to the food I’m creating, get the energy flowing in the right direction.
Gnas El Ghiwane are my favourite Morrocan band. Here’s a tune I love cooking to, reminding me of the desert and endless bus journeys through nothingness.