Pizza Oven Moroccan Khobz Bread with Zaalouk
We kicked off our 2020 with some winter sun in Morocco. We flew into Agadir, threw our luggage into a dinky little hire car and headed for the coast. Our first (and in the end the only) stop of the holiday was a surf and yoga retreat at Morocco’s first eco hotel. We were only supposed to be there for four days, but we were so relaxed we decided to stay for a further week!
This was our second trip to Morocco; our first was to Marrakech and Essaouira a few years back. What we love most about our travels to Morocco other than the warm hearts of all the locals, is the start of every meal. A large, warm, flat round of khobz bread and a selection of little colourful pots to dip into. These accoutrements varied greatly from the most incredible olive oil with salt and cumin seeds sprinkled over to olives, pickles and dips.
The most memorable tasty morsel was zaalouk, a deep red dish containing roast aubergine and tomatoes at its core. Everyone seems to make zaalouk differently, some days it was more like a warm salad, others like a cross between a pickle or a relish. Either way they were all delicious!
The khobz really benefits from being cooked in a pizza oven (the Gozney Roccbox our oven of choice!), as the smoke from the wood burner attachment gives it a really authentic slightly smoked flavour.
If you don’t have a pizza oven, then a pre-heated dutch oven will work just as well – and if you’re not cooking over fire then a hot oven will do just fine. The same goes for the veggies – you could also char the aubergines straight in the hot coals of the fire or roast them in an oven. You can treat the tomatoes the same, but you would leave them whole and cut them once they are all charred. Once the veggies are charred, you would continue the same as the recipe below but use a warm skillet over the fire to cook out the garlic and spices before adding the charred veggies. Increasing the heat to drive off the remaining moisture.
This recipe use the Roccbox at its hottest to char the veggies, followed by the bread which will cook at a lower temperature – somewhere between 250.c to 300.c. Make the dough for the khobz bread as you char the veggies for the zaalouk, this gives you plenty of time for the dough to prove. Proving dough outside is always tricky as the temperature change in our woodland glen can vary drastically as the clouds come and go. If you’re still cooking outside in the autumn or winter, you can prove the khobz dough near the fire but be careful as the dough can become too warm and over prove – or even create a crust which makes life a tad trickier when we come to pat the khobz dough out.