Feature Friday: the Best Tagine in Kraków by Khawla
Meet Khawla, a super cool girl from Morocco, who cooks the best tagine in Kraków!
Khawla, how did you learn cooking… was cooking always a part of your life?
I never really tried to learn how to cook, it just came naturally with time. I think it has something to do with my mom, she is the best cook in the family. I grew up in a family that loves family reunions and gatherings. Usually they are full of food and delicious dishes shared with uncles and cousins.
And does food mean anything particular to you?
Food for me is what reunites people, it's a sign of love and caring. Food helps up express our feelings and share them with others. For me, there is nothing better than seeing the people I love enjoying my food.
You come from Morocco, could you tell us what’s so special about Moroccan cuisine?
Moroccan cuisine is really one of a kind, it is a story that traces the country’s long history of colonizers and immigrants. The cuisine of the first inhabitants, the Berbers, still exists today in the tagine and couscous. The Arab invasion brought new spices, nuts and dried fruits, and the sweet and sour combinations that we see in dishes like tagine with dates and lamb. The Moors introduced olives, olive oil and citrus while the Jewish-Moors left behind their sophisticated preserving techniques that we see in the frequent use of preserved lemons, pickles, etc. The Ottoman Empire introduced barbecue to Moroccan cuisine. The French colony left behind a culture of cafes and pastries...
And something interesting about your country's food culture?
...Maybe the fact that you should never eat alone, you should always share your food with family, neighbors...
What is one ingredient you always have in your house?
One ingredient I always have in my kitchen is preserved lemon, for me it is essential and it makes everything so tasty.
This sounds so delicious. What is your family's favorite thing you cook for them?
My family loves my tagine with chicken, preserved lemon and olives, all gathered in a thick sauce and eaten with homemade bread. And my favorite dish is Rfissa, it is a mix of savory chicken, onion and lentils that are served on a bed of shredded pastry called msemen. The blend of Ras El Hanout, fenugreek seeds (helba in Arabic), saffron and other spices makes a truly unique and delicious dish. As such, it's traditionally served on the third day following the birth of a child or for other special occasions. Of course, it can be offered at other times as well.
Do you like to cook in your spare time?
Actually my favorite thing to do in my spare time is to try new recipes and make everyone around me taste them and see if it's good. Other than Eataway, I work in HR. I am recruiting for France, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.
How did you learn about Eataway?
I learned about Eataway from Facebook. I saw a post about it and I loved the concept. I joined 1 week later, I bought a table and chairs for 10 people and I was ready to start!
What do you like the most about hosting?
The best thing I like about hosting is the experience, the atmosphere and the reaction I get from my guests. You just do not get that in a restaurant, the people don't come to you and say this is amazing food and you do not share your culture with them around the table. Hosting is a million times better.