Khlii is to Fassis (peole from Fez/Fes) what water is to anything that lives…on water; It’s something we should have in our cupboard/larder.freezer or fridge at all times whether to use as is or as a condiment in many of our stews, soups and salads.
Mind you, it was not a delicacy before our time as it was rather a way of preserving meat and serving it during bad days (financially and naturally).
Nowadays, that it has got its fame, including across Morocco itself, Khlii has become at thing and it has become widely available in Moroccan markets. Then again, not all is good enough for a connoisseur palate.
In the world of khlii, there is good and bad, if you don’t know your source, you might end up with a nasty stinky surprise that will put you off this centuries old delicacy.
The recipe I’m posting today is considered to be our “fry up” formula for a good morning. It’s fried eggs with khlii, as easy as it gets especially if you know some old tricks to get it right and to avoid an indigestion. After all, we are dealing with cured meat which is most of the times preserved in a good layer of fat and you want to make sure you handle it to the best you can for the sake of your digestive system.
The recipe is simple. However, you need a few hints to gets it right so you avoid an indigestion but also to avoid burning those dear nuggets of khlii which is after all the star of the show. It’s actually not a recipe per se because it depends on how much khlii and eggs you want. It’s even ridiculous to think about quantifying these two BUT, because I want to share the best way to handle this breakfast option, I’m writing it down with quantities.
Prep: 1 min – Cooking: 1 min
2 to 4 eggs
About 1/2 cup of khlii, fat preferably scarped off for most of it (optional) and khlii snipped off to little nuggets
2 tbsp of water
A pinch of cumin
A pinch of salt to taste (Khlii is already salty)
A few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice
On a medium heat, place a non-stick frying pan or a small tagine with water and the nuggets of khlii scattered inside it. Use a heat diffuser if your tagine can’t take direct heat. The traditional way does not call for scrapping off the excess fat/suet surrounding the khlii as the eggs should “fry” in it. However, you can put most of it back into the khlii jar (*)
Once the fat/suet has melted, delicately crack in the eggs (**).
Season with cumin and salt. Cover and let the egg whites set and the yolk cooked from the edges. I usually knock off the heat at this stage.
If you are using a regular frying pan, flip the eggs just a few seconds before flipping back the whole serving in a serving dish.
If you are using tagine, be aware that the clay holds the heat and you have to let it work for you, you don’t have to flip the eggs, just place the tagine in the middle of the table as it keeps bubbling away and the egg yolks are slowly setting. It only requires a few more minutes.
The lemon juice could be added before adding the eggs to the warm khlii or just before serving. The first option is the ideal one.
Enjoy your fried eggs warm with a hot Moroccan mint tea or any hot infusion. Never to be eaten with cold drinks.
*/ You could also leave it to melt but before adding the eggs, pour most of it back in the jar if you don’t want to deal with it in the beginning. In this case, make sure to clean the outer edges and the bottom of the pan with wet kitchen roll.
**/ It is important not to burn or dry the little nuggets of khlii. To avoid that, make sure you add the water mentioned in the recipe but also to crack the eggs in once you see that most of the fat/suet has melted. Most of all, it’s important to cook this on medium-low heat.
Nada Kiffa is an Expert in Moroccan cooking and her recipes are coming from a lineage of Moroccan home and professional cooks.
Cooking classes and posted articles are inspired by her family life in Morocco and elsewhere. You will learn what makes a dish Moroccan before learning how to execute it. You will also learn how to work around recipes and cut corners without missing on the flavour.
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