Our next recipe in the Tagine Masterclass series is different from the normal tagine recipes you find everywhere. We’ll be cooking the super easy Khlea and Egg Tagine, or simply put, Scrambled Eggs and Khlea! So I thought I would first introduce you to the delights of Khlea or Khlii.
What is Khlea?
Khlea is a Moroccan preserved meat, not unlike the French duck confit (Confit de Canard) used in Cassoulet.
Small pieces of beef or lamb are marinated in some light spices, then cooked, before being preserved in fat and stored in the fridge. I know it’s not the prettiest thing to look at, but boy, are looks deceiving! If you’ve ever had duck confit, you’ll know what I’m talking about!
Traditionally when making Khlie, the meat is seasoned, dried in the sun, then preserved for up to 2 years in a whole lot of fat. While this is still practised in far out, rural areas, these days, many Moroccan families just resort to buying it as it is so easily available everywhere.
During our last trip to Morocco, we stayed for a month in Salé, a little known town about 20 minutes away from Rabat, the capital. Everyone was so friendly and helpful, from our landlord to our neighbours to the folks who ran the cafes, restaurants and shops in the area.
This recipe is from one of the local cafes that we frequented. We lived in a quiet, up and coming neighbourhood, 5 minutes from the sea, and almost on our doorstep was an array of local shops, cafes and tea houses. My kids love going out to eat, wherever we are, and in Morocco, it was no different.
Having a place for breakfast (and lunch and dinner!) just a minute’s walk from home was a huge attraction to them. That was their first time in Morocco and their delight and enthusiasm was really wonderful to behold! They were willing to try almost everything!
Anyway, on one of those mornings, while digging into some khlea and egg tagine, I asked about making khlea and was rewarded with an invitation into the kitchen to observe the process! Did I mention how friendly everyone was? It really was a wonderful experience and below, you’ll find the recipe exactly as I learnt it that day. Apparently, this quick version of making Khlea originated in Salé itself, but who knows?
How to Use Khlea
In Morocco, khlea is used in so many different ways but a very popular way is to cook it with eggs in a tagine, for breakfast, as mentioned above. I definitely indulge in this whenever I find myself in Morocco or other parts of North Africa with lots of bread and mint tea.
Khlea can also used to flavour soups (like the harira below), couscous and just about anything else you fancy using it, in place of regular meat. One of my favourite ways is to make Moroccan bread/pancake stuffed with khlii. Msemen or meloui stuffed with this preserved meat is simply amazing!
The fat from khlea is also full of flavour, so is a great flavour enhancer if you use it in place of your regular fat/oil, just like goose fat or beef dripping. So when that meat has finished, don’t throw the fat away!
A quick note about Suet
Suet is the saturated fat that’s found around kidneys and other organs in animals, it’s solid at room temperature. You should be able to get it from your butcher, although in the UK, beef and vegetable suet are easily available in packets at supermarkets.
Traditionally, in the UK, Christmas puddings were made using beef suet, which is shredded for use.
Suet is used in steamed puddings because it has a higher melting point than butter and the pudding has a chance to set before the it starts to melt, unlike butter.
Vegetarian suet is usually made with palm oil and is also solid at room temp, also grated for use.
Substitute: no real substitute but you could get away with using solid vegetable shortening/fat. Grate the amount you need and substitute with suet in your recipe. In making Khlea however, just omit the suet and double up on the olive oil in this recipe.
So, let’s get ready for our next tagine recipe by making khlea at home! Once made, it lasts about 3 months in your fridge, so that’s an added bonus, you’ll always have some at hand! Also, it will be ready to eat immediately, but the longer you keep it (up to a point), the better and more concentrated the flavour, just like regular confit.
Ready to try something completely new?
♥ Do you like this recipe? Please give it a 5-star rating below! And when you make it, share it on Instagram or any other social medium and tag me @azlinbloor. Merci! … Lin ♥Print
How to make khlea (khlii) at home. Khlea is a delicious Moroccan preserved meat, not unlike duck confit (confit de canard).
- 500 g (just over 1 lb) beef or lamb, cut in small pieces
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- half tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- half tsp chilli flakes
- 2 tsp salt
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
- 100 g (3.5 oz) beef suet (substitute with another half cup olive oil)
- 125 ml (half cup) EV olive oil
- Dry roast the coriander and cumin seeds on medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes until you get a lovely fragrance.
- Place in a spice mill or pestle and mortar and blitz or pound to a semi coarse grind.
- Now mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, cover with cling film and place in the fridge overnight.
The Next Day
- Transfer the whole lot into a large frying pan and heat over medium flame.
- When it’s heated up and the suet is beginning to melt, lower the heat right down and cook for 2 – 2.5 hours until the meat is a very dark colour.
- Transfer everything into a sterilised jar and store in the fridge and use as described above. Just like any confit, it’s great to eat now but gets better as it ages.
I was told that it should be fine in the fridge for about 3 months, the longest it has lasted (before being eaten up) in my house is 2 months!
- Category: Starter
- Cuisine: Moroccan