Moroccan dairy drink: Raibi

Raibi is a dairy drink we grew up enjoying cold or frozen. It used to be sold in Mahlabas (dairy shops) or small grocery shops.
Back in 1966, Centrale Laitiere was the first company to make Raibi. In the last 10 years, more competition came in and we even enjoyed a better product from them while the original version has become more watery.
Homemade Raibi with natural ingredients
In its original form, it was a liquid yoghurt with grenadine syrup/flavouring. After a few decades of success, we had a green Raibi with pistachio flavour. The green version is not as famous as the original version though.
If you ask any Moroccan born after 1966 and living away from home, Raibi would be an iconic childhood drink and they will instantly look for it whenever they’re back to Morocco while in some countries, it’s been imported to cater for this category.
Different brands of Raibi in a supermarket. The family size is fairly new
How many of us dipped Henry’s biscuits (the other iconic childhood thing) in Raibi or made a porridge out of the two? Who didn’t drink Raibi from the bottom by pulling a bit of the plastic with their teeth to make a small hole?
Are you one of those who froze Raibi to make a cold ice-cream treat during hot summer days? Or did you make a fruit salad adding Raibi to it along with orange juice?
Which one of Raibi-addict are you?
Anyway, come night time, l thought I’ll share one Raibi with my little one. It was about 9 pm and we were all awake watching TV to fill those long summer nights..
My boy was due to sleep at 10 pm. At 10.30 pm he was so hyper that he didn’t stop walking back and fourth, making noise, rotating on himself..
I naively told my nieces: “I guess Raibi was the cause behind his condition” but I was rather thinking about the sugar in it. We laughed at the idea and let it go. My boy got to a level when he became genuinely tired and fell asleep.
Fast-forward 4 months, I tried to make Raibi the only way I know which is to use a grenadine syrup to my dairy mix. This recipe is actually quite famous over the Internet and it was on since 2010 if I reckon.
A small dose of red colouring from beetroot makes a wonderful alternative
Then I remembered my old cake decoration classes where the Tutor told us to avoid giving some chemical colourings to children. I have googled the edible colourings and found out that in France some of them have become parents’ enemies to the extend that brands had to review some of their recipes.
One of the “bad” colourings was the red used in most of the grenadine syrups we are familiar with (in Morocco, it would be sirop Duval or sirop Sport).
Homemade grenadine (pomogranate) and beetroot syrup
Being in UK, I checked 3 brands who have a chemical red colouring with a note that it will cause hyper-activity to children. If you are lucky to find one without the dodgy ingredients, you may just use it without having to make your own syrup.
So that is only a part of the problem. The other part is that grenadine syrup is one of the biggest jokes of this modern world: they hardly contain any pomegranate or grenadine in them. They usually have other red fruits in the mix. So what you get is not what you think you are getting. One of the main reasons is undoubtedly the cost of the fruit, which prompted manufacturers to replace it with artificial flavours.
So I decided to make my favourite Raibi with safe and authentic ingredients for my little family to enjoy without harming anyone.
Ingredients
Serves 4

 

Prep: 2 min (with syrup ready to use)
  • 500 ml of buttermilk (if you use thick buttermilk mix it with 50ml of cold water or milk)
  • 80 g of vanilla yoghurt (I personally use one with real vanilla beans)
  • 80g of strawberry or raspberry yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp of dried milk powder (optional)
  • 3-4 tbsps of grenadine syrup (see recipe below)
  • 1 tiny slice of pre-cooked beetroot.
If you can’t get hold of  nice seedless pomogranates, use
this juice to  make the syrup
Preparation
Mix all ingredients in a blender and serve cold.
 
Recipe for grenadine syrup
Cold method
Mix equal amount of pomegranate seeds and sugar (say 200g/200g), bruise the seeds and set aside for a few hours until it turns to a syrup.

 

Hot method (makes about 30 cl)
Mix 400g pomegranate seeds (*) with 200g of water (**), bring the ingredients to a boil and let simmer over medium heat for 10-15 min.
Mash up the seeds with a potato masher. Pass them through a strainer and press them thoroughly. Weight the liquid and add the equivalent of its weight in sugar.
Bring again to a boil and let simmer another 10 mins  until the liquid thickens. Add a few drops of strawberry or raspberry extract (optional).
Set aside to cool. It will thicken further more.
Use the syrup cold.
 
You could replace with a 100% store-bought pomogranate juice.

 

** The water I have used for this syrup is basically the same I gathered from the boiled beetroot. This made my syrup turn red “blood” instead of pinky red, without the addition of any chemical colouring. If you make it that way, you can use the beetroot in your salad or to make a Moroccan beetroot juice.


Moroccan Jerusalem artichoke tagine

Jerusalem artichokes have a weird name: they’re not from Jerusalem and they’re not artichokes. We call them in Moroccan batata qessbiya (batata for potato and qessbiya in reference to a cane) putting this root vegetable in the potato family!

I do believe they have an artichoky taste but it could be me.
Anyway, there is a sort of hate/love relationship people have towards this vegetable which by the way causes flatulence (not to its favour).

 

Some Jerusalem artichokes I found in Notting Hill market (London)

Passed this little point, I ensure you that Jerusalem artichokes are really nice especially if you get to temper their after taste.
Best Jerusalem artichokes are more round and less stringy  than the ones in the
picture (see lines through the white flesh), but these will also do
When in season, we like to add them to couscous, make a starter by cooking them in Moroccan chermoula until tenderness (see notes). We also add them to a turnip tagine or we just cook them on their own following a M’qalli logic of spicing.
This tagine will be cooked the same way as the broad beans tagine.

Ingredients
Serves 4 
Prep: 20 min – Cooking: 90 to 120 min

  • 400 g of lamb shanks or beef cuts (shoulder, neck), bones in
  • 1 kg of Jerusalem artichokes, washed thoroughly and peeled
  • 1 medium-size yellow or white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, grated or crushed
  • 1 small bouquet of coriander or 2 tbps chopped
  • 2 tbsps of olive  and vegetable oil mix
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • A good pinch of white and black ground pepper
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • A pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 tsp of salt or to taste
  • Juice of a lemon


Garnishing (optional)

  • Purple or green olives 
  • Preserved lemon
  • A few coriander leaves

 

Preparation

Place a deep heavy-bottomed cooking pot on medium heat with about 10 ml of water.

In a separate bowl, add a few spoons of water, mix in all the spices to form a loose paste. Place in the cuts of meats which you should flip so maximum surface is in contact with spices.

Transfer the meat to the pot and add the onion, garlic, and water just to cover the pieces of meat. Let simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the oil and 3 times the level of meat in water. Cover the pot and let simmer over medium heat. During the cooking process, check the level of water which should cover the meat until it becomes tender.

Add the peeled Jerusalem artichokes with the bouquet of coriander and make sure there is enough sauce to cover them to their 2/3. Cook for another 25 minutes until the root vegetables are tender (stabe one with a knife, it should go though without resistance). The sauce/broth (marka) should also be fairly reduced by now.

Add the lemon juice and stir gently.

Scoop some marka and pour it in the middle of the serving dish. Place the pieces of meat topped by the coriander bouquet and the vegetable then pour more marka.

Serve hot with a good bread to soak up the sauce.

Notes
  • You can make a vegetarian Moroccan Jerusalem artichoke tagine by omitting the meat.
  • In its original non-vegetarian version, we prefer to cook it with lamb.
  • You can make a Moroccan Jerusalem artichoke starter by cooking them diced or sliced in a liquid chermoula mix until tenderness and then serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with green or purple olives. (For 1 kg of vegetable use half of the chermoula recipe posted in the link).

Mastering many Moroccan dishes by mastering just a few master recipes

The good thing about Moroccan food is once you know how master recipes work, you can decline them by season and make plenty of dishes without having to look for a written recipe anymore!

Whether you cook these Moroccan dishes using a heavy cooking pot or a tagine, It will only differ in the cooking time and the quantity of liquid added during the cooking process, but the “spicing” logic remains the same. So make sure you check these posts  This is the reason I wrote a few post on how to get you there:

Many Moroccan tagines are cooked M’qalli style with small variations in some cases. They just need coriander, turmeric, ginger, salt and pepper, ginger, saffron and olive oil.

This is an example of how you can master a few stews by mastering just one: learn how to make Moroccan broad beans (fava beans) stew or tagine and you would have learned how to make:

  • Green peas tagine

 

 

  • Artichokes tagine (globe artichoke or wild artichoke)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • A version of the potatoes tagine (tagine dial lebtata bezzitoun), you could add paprika

 

 

  • Courgette tagine (tagine dial guera’a khedra), just add thyme or/and oregano which can be cooked with chicken, red meat or served vegetarian.

 

 

  • Some tagines are just associations of vegetables which are usually available in the same season make the best of dishes. They are also cooked the same way as the master recipe.

 

A dash of paprika is the only addition to the master recipe in order to make this
medley of vegetables tagine
  • Or a combination such as this one

 

Courgette, green peas, fennel and artichoke tagine garnished with
different local olives

 

  • Or just a limited mix of vegetables..

 

Another green peas, tomatoes and olives tagine

No wonder our grandparents cooked without piling cooking books or even writing down any.

So find the common spicing combination between all the Moroccan dishes you know and see what you can come up with. I think this is an easy method to learn faster.

 


Moroccan fresh broad bean (fava bean) and artichokes tagine

Broad beans are one of the most favourite vegetables in Morocco, especially when in season and young.

In Morocco, broad beans get picked from the fields, in a matter of a day or two at max, they would have been distributed and sold, maybe already eaten.

Moroccan fresh broad beans stew with artichokes

By sniffing freshly picked broad beans,  you could smell the green jnan or field they just came from. They go in anything such as salads and starters (here, there), soups, stews, tagines, couscous.

We always give a slit to the fresh broad beans (as seen in the picture) before
cooking it so it cooks through in a short time

I was not particularly lucky in finding good fresh broad beans in the hectic London and the ones I found come either frozen or in the vegetable section of supermarket, but then no taste comes out of that. That is to say that I’m so jealous of you! Yes you who can bite into a freshly picked broad bean wherever you are!.

When the broad beans are freshly picked, we can keep some of their
skin on and cook it as well.

If you can get hold of good broad beans in season, peel the outer skin, give a slit or prick them with a knife and do not forget to remove that little hat or nail each broad bean has on top. Last thing to do is to parboil them in salty and lemony water and freeze your bounty (after draining and cooling) for the rest of the year!

 

I tried to grow them in my balcony, I think I didn’t get the right variety! I know that now because I’ve read a bit about it. However, it still tasted better than what I got from the supermarket.

Fes, where my family comes from, is where you find some of the best broad beans as they come from the fields around the city and even the Jnans (patches of green fields) within it. So they get cooked in “all sauces” and sometimes they are combined with other seasonal vegetables such as cardoons, globe or wild artichokes (the other vegetable that’s ridiculously cheap back in Morocco)..

Moroccan fresh broad bean (or fava beans) stew can also be cooked in a tagine. It follows the M’qalli spicing logic.

This vegetable is better paired with red meat but you can make it vegetarian.

Ingredients
Serves 6 to 8
Prep: 20 min – Cooking: 90 to 120 min

  • 1 kg of lamb shanks or beef cuts (shoulder, neck), bones in
  • 2 kgs of fresh or frozen broad beans (you may keep 1/4 of beans with the outer skin if they’ve been freshly picked)
  • 6  artichokes (optional)
  • 1 medium-size yellow or white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated or crushed
  • 1 small bouquet of coriander
  • 3 tbsps of olive  and vegetable oil mix
  • 1 tbsp of ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp of white and black ground pepper
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • A pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 tsp of salt or to taste

Garnishing

  • Purple or green olives
  • Preserved lemon

 

You could reduce the marka (broth, sauce) or keep some to
dip your Moroccan bread in.

Preparation

If you are going to add artichokes to this tagine, peel them and parboil them in boiled salty and lemony water for about 5 minutes. Set aside.

It’s important to scrub the heads of artichoke with lemon and place them in a
lemony water before parboiling them, to avoid darkening effect

Place a deep heavy-bottomed cooking pot on medium heat with about 10 ml of water.

In a separate bowl, add a few spoons of water, mix in all the spices to form a loose paste. Place in the cuts of meats which you should flip so maximum surface is in contact with spices.

Transfer the meat to the pot and add the onion, garlic, and water just to cover the pieces of meat. Let simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the oil and 3 times the level of meat in water. Cover the pot and let simmer over medium heat. During the cooking process, check the level of water which should cover the meat until it becomes tender.

Add the broad beans with the bouquet of coriander and make sure there is enough sauce to cover them (add just enough water if you have to). Cook for another 20 minutes (frozen beans take less).

Add the artichokes on top and carry on cooking for another 10 min or until the beans are tender from the inside (fish out one and pinch it). The sauce/broth (marka) should also be fairly reduced by now.

Add a few olives to the sauce just 5 minutes before you knock off the heat.

Scoop some marka and pour it in the middle of the serving dish. Place the pieces of meat, top with the coriander bouquet, broad beans and more marka.

Garnish with olives and slices or preserved lemon. Serve hot with a good bread to soak up the sauce.