Salads are an important part of Moroccan cuisine and taktouka is one of the most beloved salads. Now, I know the first thing you might think is why would you need a taktouka recipe if taktouka is a salad? The answer is simple; taktouka isn’t a typical salad and it requires some cooking. But before we get to the actual taktouka recipe, let me give you some background.
What is Taktouka?
Taktouka is a cooked salad/puree made of tomatoes and green peppers. As with most other salads, it’s healthy and very delicious. The grilled bell peppers give the dish a smoky flavor that’s balanced with the sweet flavor of the tomatoes and this mix can do wonders for your appetite.
Hence, it’s no surprise that this is one of the most popular Moroccan appetizers.
The right way to eat taktouka is by dipping some khobz (or some other Moroccan bread) into the salad or as a side dish with grilled meat, fish, or a stew (like loubia) but if you really like it, you can eat it as a sandwich or as a snack alongside some harcha bread (even though this is quite unorthodox).
Taktouka is usually served warm but it’s also quite tasty when served cold. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say that taktouka is just as tasty if not even more the next day after preparing it. The salad originates from Morocco but is also popular in Algeria. In the eastern part of Morocco, this salad is known as flifla while in Algeria, they call it felfla mechouia.
History & Origin
This dish has its origin in the former Ottoman Empire. Tomato-based stews were one of the most common appetizers throughout the Ottoman Empire, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. In North Africa, these dishes were referred to as shakshouka and consisted of cooked vegetables and liver or minced meat. As trading with the American continent and Europe grew, tomatoes and chili peppers were added to these gravies and became so popular that a vegetarian version of this dish eventually appeared.
The exact origins of taktouka are disputed. Some historians believe the dish originated in Spain, others claim it was invented in today’s Israel (and brought to North Africa by Tunisian Jews), and others claim the dish is 100% Moroccan. However, there’s no doubt that the original taktouka recipe is a part of Moroccan cuisine today. The word taktouka derives from the Arabic verb taktak meaning to grind.
Taktouka or Shakshouka?
Shakshouka is a similar Tunisian dish with similar ingredients and preparation method but there are some differences. The main difference is shakshouka is served as a main course dish while taktouka is an appetizer. Shakshouka originates from Tunisia and is a saucier and slightly spicier version of taktouka that features a poached egg on the top. The dish is also popular in Israel and the southern islands of Sicily where it’s referred to as sciakisciuka. Both dishes have coexisted for centuries and it’s difficult to say which one came first.
Another Moroccan dish you should destinguish taktouka from is zaalouk, a delicious cooked salad made of tomatoes, eggplants, and garlic.
A Few More Tips For Your Taktouka Recipe
As I said, taktouka arguably tastes even better after sitting out a day in the fridge, so don’t worry if you make a lot. I’m under the impression that no matter how much you make you’ll end up eating it anyway because it’s very light and very tasty but if you can prove me wrong, let me know in the comments!
Regarding the recipe, you can always experiment and add large pieces of smoked peppers rather than grinding. This makes the peppers chewier and ads a very nice texture to the dish. It’s not the traditional way to make it but it can save you some time.
And last but not least, adjust this recipe depending on the region you’re coming from. I’m saying this because tomatoes are sweeter in some parts of the world and if you happen to come from them, perhaps you should skip adding caster sugar in your taktouka recipe.
Suggestion: You can round up your meal with some sweet chebakia.
- 3 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 6 Medium-Size Tomatoes
- 3 Large Sweet Bell Peppers
- 1 Teaspoon Paprika
- 4 Tablespoon Chopped Coriander
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 3 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin
- 1 Teaspoon Caster Sugar (optional)
- Preheat your grill (for the peppers).
- Put the green peppers on the grill and turn them every few minutes. Make sure all peppers are scorched equally on all sides.
- Peel off and chop the tomatoes into tiny pieces.
- After the peppers cool off, chop them into tiny pieces.
- Heat some olive oil in your skillet. Add the tomatoes, garlic, coriander, and spices.
- Cover the mix with a lid and keep it for 15 minutes until the mix gets softened.
- Finally, add the chopped peppers and mix everything together. Cook for another 15 minutes. At this point, all liquids should evaporate.
- Serve with some Moroccan breads like khobz or harcha.
Serving Size:560 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 153Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.5gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 263mgCarbohydrates: 24gNet Carbohydrates: 24gFiber: 7gSugar: 15gProtein: 6g
A Few More Things You Could Use
Did you like this taktouka recipe? Is it something you would like to try? Let us know in the comments!
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