Cooking Vegetarian, Moroccan Style


MouradCooking vegetarian food sometimes gets boring. Sauté, steam, boil, and stew … then season with salt and pepper. Is there anything that can make it more interesting? What makes all the flavor of vegetables come out in harmony?  Mourad Lahlou’s cookbook, Mourad, has the answer. 

Mourad Lahlou is a chef and restaurateur. His Michelin starred restaurant Aziza in San Francisco is very popular and one of the must-see restaurants in San Francisco. He was appointed a culinary ambassador by Hillary Clinton, of which duties his included cooking for dignitaries visiting US from North Africa and talking publicly about how to care for the world, environment, food and more.

Mourad became a chef in an untraditional way. He initially pursued a PhD in 

Photo of lemons being preserved with salt.economics. He writes in his cookbook, "I learned to cook from memory." Instead of going to a cooking school to study and practice, he cooked in his tiny kitchen, trying to recreate the sensations of tastes from vivid memories of where he grew up.


Photo taken from Mourad and courtesy of  BC Living

Mourad's approach toward cooking is also unconventional. In his cookbook, when asked if Moroccan cooking is all about spices, he wrote, "No, it’s really all about what you do with them." The title for Chapter 1 is "Spice is a verb."

I cooked root vegetables with his spices in an enamel cast iron pot instead of in a tagine. It was amazing! The intense flavor and sweetness of each vegetable was a delightful surprise. I can’t wait to try other recipes from this book. 

- by Takago