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.

Pizza Oven Moroccan Khobz Bread with Zaalouk
Pizza Oven Moroccan Khobz Bread with Zaalouk
Pizza Oven Moroccan Khobz Bread with Zaalouk

INGREDIENTS

For the Zaalouk:

2 aubergines
500g tomatoes
¼ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp paprika
Salt and pepper
A good drizzle of rapeseed oil
3 garlic cloves
Small squeeze of tomato puree
Red wine vinegar
½ tsp honey

 

For the Khobz Bread:

500g strong white bread flour
2 tsp salt
315ml water
7g dried active yeast
2 tsp honey
2 tbsp rapeseed oil

METHOD

STEP ONE

Make the Zaalouk

 

Heat the pizza oven so that it’s around 350 degrees C.

 

Prick the aubergines with a fork and place in the oven, turning regularly, until charred all over.
Remove from the oven, place in a bowl and cover with cling film straight away. The steam will make it easier to remove the skin. Allow to rest for 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle.

 

Split the tomatoes in half and place onto a skillet, drizzle over the rapeseed oil and season with salt, pepper and cumin seeds. Roast hard in the oven until beginning to char all over and they start to collapse. Finely slice the garlic and throw in with the tomatoes. Add in the paprika and stir, pressing down on the tomatoes with the back of the spoon.

 

Peel the aubergines and place them in the tomatoes, again just pressing with the back of the spoon to crush and mix together. Add in the tomato puree, red wine vinegar and honey. Stir the zaalouk and allow to bubble and reduce for a few minutes.

 

Remove the pan from the oven, place the Zaalouk into a serving dish and allow to cool whilst you cook your Khobz bread.

STEP TWO

Make the Khobz Bread

 

Warm the water slightly, then stir in the honey and yeast. Let the mix sit for 5-10 minutes until frothy.

 

Place the flour into a large bowl and stir in the salt. Pour in the yeast and rapeseed oil. Bring the dough together with a wooden spoon, once you have a rough dough knead for 10 minutes on a work surface, until you have a smooth and pliable dough.

 

Split the dough into two and place on a lightly floured tray to prove for 15 minutes. Once proven pat the dough rounds into so that they are about 1.5cm thick. Lightly score the top of the dough and place into the oven. The oven should be running at around 225-250 degrees C for 15-20 minutes, until it sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped.

 

Place on a rack to cool slightly. (If you’re making a batch, freeze on the same day as making as it doesn’t keep too well).

 

STEP THREE

Time to Serve!

 

Serve the Khobz and Zaalouk on sharing platters. The platter should have a nice olive oil for dipping, some olives, pickles maybe some cheese – goats cheese seems to be the most popular in Morocco.

THINGS TO NOTE

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 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.

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