This dish is like winning the lottery, it is like finding an extremely impressive looking person, and discovering that on the inside they are even more beautiful and interesting…and in this case the outer beauty pleases the eye and the inner beauty will please the stomach…
Since culinary esthetic has an extremely important role in Tunisian cuisine, maa’kuda has been the source of pride to many Tunisian cooks. The moment of truth is when you cut the first slice and reveal the beautiful arrangement of colors and shapes on the inside…
It is a piece of art!
Take a look at this piece of art- It really makes me wonder whether Picasso actually created Cubism art on his own, or perhaps he just had a great piece of maa’kuda right before this amazing visual art discovery. 🙂
You will need:
6-7 medium Potatoes (butter potato/yellow potatoes)
1 large Onion
2 medium Carrots
1 cup Frozen Peas
1½ cup chopped Parsley
4½ tbsp. Canola Oil
1½ tsp. Turmeric
1 tsp. Black Peppers
2 tsp. Salt
Let’s get to work:
An easy start with the potatoes- there’s no need to peel (yet) or cut, just wash them well and place in a large pot.
Peel the carrots and place in the pot on top of the potatoes.
Generously fill the pot with water. Bring to a boil and continue by cooking until the carrots and potatoes are softened. The carrots and potatoes are sharing a pot here, but it is clear that the carrots will be cooked before the potatoes so keep an eye. About 15 minutes after boiling the carrots will be ready.
Take the carrots out of the pot and let the potatoes to continue cooking until softened (additional 10-15 minutes). You will know when sticking a fork or a knife in the middle of a potato is fairly easy…
While the potatoes continue to cook, cut the carrots into medium sized pieces. Half circles of 1-inch thickness work for me…
When the potatoes are ready, drain the water and let them cool for just a bit. When they are cool enough to touch, peel them.
Get the potato masher and ROUGHLY smash the potatoes. We are NOT trying to get smooth texture, it is actually important to leave some good chunks of potatoes.
Time to combine the other ingredients in. Finely chop the onion and add to the smashed potatoes.
Chop the parsley and add as well.
Remember our spices: turmeric, black pepper and salt.
Add right on top.
Bit the eggs well and add to the mixture.
It is time to give everything a good mix.
Timing is everything- Now it is time to add the peas and carrots. The peas and carrot pieces are delicate and we want to keep their shape and avoid excessive mixing after they join the party.
After adding peas and carrots, gently fold them in the mixture just for an even spread. The maa’kud mixture is ready so get the pot ready as well.
You will need a heavy pot that allow even heat spread and can also be transferred to the oven. I use a round Dutch oven pot of medium size of 3.5 quarts (9’’ diameter). Add the canola oil to pot and make sure the oil is VERY hot before adding the mixture in.
I try to pour it to the center of the pot and flatten the top as much as possible.
Cover the pot and allow the maa’kuda to cook for 10 minutes on medium heat. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 340°.
After 10 minutes, uncover the pot and move the maa’kud to a preheated oven at 340°.
Bake the maa’kuda for a little over an hour until the sides are browned and the top is golden and firm.
It’s a double flip:
The whole glory of this dish is its presentation: we need to get it out of the pot!
After the maa’kuda is out of the oven and cooled down just a bit, using a knife gently loosen the sides all around the maa’kud.
Place a plate (just a plate not the serving plate) on the top of the pot and bravely 🙂 flip the maa’kuda over.
This is beautiful, but it is the bottom of the maa’kuda and I am reminding you that this dish is a little bit about “showing off” so how can we see the top?
It is time to place your serving plate on top of the (bottom of the) maa’kuda.
Flip one more time…and… TA-DA!
When the maa’kuda is nice and cooled you can cut it into slices just like a cake, it is usually served cold or at room temperature. I know you don’t think it’s even possible, but the beauty on the inside of this maa’kuda surpasses the impressive outside.
Look at the arrangement of colors and shapes in this piece of maa’kuda!
Boil Potatoes and Carrots until soft.
Cut Carrots into half circles.
Smash potatoes roughly.
Add chopped Onions, chopped Parsley, Frozen Peas and Carrot pieces.
Add Turmeric, Black Pepper and Salt.
Beat the Eggs lightly and add to the blend.
Pour into a Hot pot with Canola Oil.
Cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat.
Move to a preheated oven (340°) bake for a little over an hour.
(Until the Maa’kud is firm sides are brown and top is golden)
Remove from oven and let cool for 20 minutes.
Loosen sides with a knife and turn over twice to a serving dish.