I decided to make a Moorish themed dinner this Sunday. The Moors controlled most of present day Spain from the 8th–15th centuries. While Moorish cuisine is little different from that of Morocco, the Moors had a great effect on the gastronomy of Spain. They introduced almonds, citrus fruit and rice, as well as the irrigation systems necessary to grow them. However, this period was also pre-contact with the New World, so that some items that are common to today’s Spanish and Moroccan cuisines had not yet been introduced to European diets—no tomatoes or chilies, including paprika and cayenne.
Karl’s Moorish Spice Blend
1 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tsp. coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. fennel seeds, ground
4 whole cloves, ground
1/8 tsp. nutmeg, ground
Large pinch saffron, ground
1. Toast the cumin and coriander in a dry pan and place the seeds in a spice grinder.
Note: Do this the morning of your dinner, but better the night before.
2. Add the rest of the spice blend ingredients and process them to a powder.