Moroccan cuisine Recipes from Zayane Restaurant London

Waste Not, Want Not – A Delicious Way to Feast on Ramadan Leftovers!

In recent blogs   I’ve gone to great ends to convey the there’s a lot more to Ramadan than fasting… Contrary to the Western imagination there’s actually quite a lot of eating that goes on, too. After sunset it is time for iftar, a foodie feast of the most extravagant variety (at least it is for us Moroccans!). However, as it is for most cultures, the naturally result of such a food intensive celebration is cooking far more than one can actually consume. As it is with the British Christmas and the American Thanksgiving, leftovers are the by-product of Ramadan’s iftar feast.

There remain a couple of extra layers imposed on the Ramadan leftover situation that aren’t typically present in Western foodie extravaganzas.

Firstly, despite the fact that all Moroccans can’t wait to get their salivating palates on the tasty iftar treats in store after sundown, the truth is that fasting shrinks your belly and you simply can’t consume as much as you would like. Indeed, the maxim ‘our eyes are bigger than our bellies’ is particularly relevant during this period. Beyond this fact, Moroccan hospitality is all about the grand spectacle of excess, meaning that even when it isn’t Ramadan we put far more food on the table than we actually require! Therefore, a Moroccan Ramadan creates loads of leftovers!

This is convoluted by one further element – throwing food away is ‘haram’. Muslims will know well what this Arabic term means – but for the non-Muslims among us, ‘haram’ means it is forbidden under Islamic law. As a result, this puts extra impetus into the Moroccan’s desire to make the most of her/his leftovers! Besides which, isn’t it just really bad to waste food? Bad for the Earth? A waste of money? Just bad? Everybody, regardless of their religious and/or political views should – hopefully – be able to agree on that!


Well, if general ‘good-will’ doesn’t convince you that leftovers are preferred to food wastage, maybe this will: Moroccan food tastes even better the next day as time in the fridge lets all the spices further penetrate the meat/potato/veg they are seasoning to make them even more scrumptious!

Given the multitude of reasons to embrace leftovers, Zayane would be remiss in its duty as a leading light on Moroccan cuisine in London if it didn’t teach its customers how to make the most of their Ramadan leftovers.


Joe and I would like to share with you one of our simplest – if most delicious – recipes: Iftar Leftover Sandwiches! We always have some leftover roast chicken – or other meat – during Ramadan and I always have some sautéed onions, garlic and peppers to hand, too. I simply deep-fry some aubergine discs and throw all the ingredients into some pita bread and – voila – iftar is sorted! If you celebrate Ramadan this will become your go-to iftar dish when you have copious leftovers or just don’t feel like whipping up a huge meal after a day of fasting. If you are not Muslim, this is just a delicious simple dish!


If you have any questions about this recipe, just let me know by contacting me on Instagramor Twitter(or even while you’re dining at Zayane!). If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can substitute the leftover meat with a fried egg or leftover potatoes.



Lastly, if you haven’t checked out my Ramadan menu, please do so… it is amazing and customers love it!


Ramadan Mubarak!



Recipe for Ramadan Leftovers Sandwich



  • Leftover meat, potatoes and or fried egg
  • Sautéed onions, garlic and peppers
  • Harissa sauce
  • Pita bread or msemen



  1. Sautee the meat with the onion, garlic and pepper mix.
  2. Season with salt and pepper
  3. Add Harissa to the pita or msemen bread
  4. Add sautéed meat, onion, garlic and pepper mix to the bread
  5. Enjoy!




Zayane’s Ramadan Recipe for Onion and Herb Msemen

Ramadan is for eating utterly delicious food. At least that’s my view – and one shared by many Moroccans. Of course, many of us fast, but to concentrate only on this important aspect of Ramadan would be to ignore all that goes on after sunset and prayers, including the zealous consumption of Moroccan cuisine’s best dishes, socialising and fun with family and friends!

In this blog post, Joe and I would like to share with you one of our favourite Moroccan Ramadan staples, msemen,

and to give you a recipe that you can make at home to try it for yourself. If you celebrate Ramadan in any capacity, cooking msemen will kick your iftar up several notches – if you don’t celebrate Ramadan, my exquisite recipe will give you some keen insight into this most holy month for Muslims… insight of the most delicious variety!

Zayane’s Ramadan Recipe for Onion and Herb Msemen

Msemen isn’t the kind of dish one typically finds at a restaurant, so unless you are Moroccan or if you ever celebrated iftar with a Moroccan family, it’s probably new to you. Msemen is a tasty flat bread that we dip in butter and honey, often after prayers during Ramadan, as a luxurious way to recalibrate our blood sugar and palates after a day of fasting. The plain msemen is the most common variety that is enjoyed throughout Morocco, but it is a bread that comes in many variations. Much in the same spirit as pizza – or a calzone, as it were – msemen can be filled with virtually anything to add another dimension or two. Two of my favourites are spiced minced lamb or merguez sausages. Pretty much if there’s a cheese, meat, vegetable or combination thereof that you fancy, you can stuff it in your msemen and it will be delicious.

The recipe I am sharing with you here is my personal one for msemen filled with onions and herbs. Not only is it suitable for vegan and vegetarians… it is taste fantastic! My onion and herb msemen will raise your Ramadan up another scrumptious level – and if you don’t celebrate, it is lovely to eat on its own or as an accompaniment to your favourite tagine!


To try a Moroccan classic that isn’t widely available outside of Morocco and the homes of Moroccans, cook my amazing msemen recipe.

But if you want to dip your toe in the proverbial water before doing so, join us at Zayane during Ramadan to try our special iftar menu, where you can enjoy our personal take on some of Morocco’s most spectacular dishes including msemen. To get the full story about our Ramadan menu, click hereto check out our blog, ‘Ramadan is Abundance, Not Lack’.


If you have any questions about this recipe or if you’d like to share with me what you think of my msemen recipe, please get in touch on Instagramor Twitter! And if you have any special requests for future recipes, Ramadan or otherwise, just let me know!


As ever – Ramadan Mubarak!


Zayane’s Ramadan Recipe for Onion and Herb Msemen


Zayane’s Recipe for Onion and Herb Msemen


  • Bread dough
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 bunch of parsley and coriander, finally chopped
  • 2 red chillis, finely chopped
  • 1tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper



  1. Sweat the onions in a small drizzle of olive oil until translucent.
  2. Add chilli, herbs and spices. Cook for 5 minutes. Once done, let cool.
  3. Cut the dough into small balls
  4. Oil your working surface and spread the dough until it is so thin it is nearly translucent.
  5. Put 1 tbsp of the onion mix in the middle of the dough and spread it into a square.
  6. Fold the dough over the onion mix by bringing two opposite sides first to cover the onions then the other sides to cover the first fold making an envelope.
  7. Oil your first msemen and repeat the same process with the rest of the dough.
  8. Pan fry but do not use too much oil – just enough so the msemen doesn’t stick to the pan.
  9. Serve hot.



Zayane’s Ramadan Recipe for Chicken Briwats

A pessimist would say that Ramadan is about not eating. As a loud and proud optimist, I would say it is all about indulging in your favourite foods!

Yes, traditionally Muslims fast during the holy month of Ramadan as a way to clear one’s mind and body to attempt to move closer to God… but after the fast it is a foodie paradise!

When we break our fast with iftar, we savour luxurious dates, delectable harira soup, tasty classic Moroccan specialities like fried dough and pancakes that we dip in fragrant honey and much, much more. These are some of our best dishes and we typically only unveil them for Ramadan, which makes this holy month something that all Moroccans eagerly await, the arduousness of the fast, notwithstanding.

Yet, one could say – as per the maxim ‘distance makes the heart grow fonder’ – that the fast actually makes our Ramadan delicacies taste even better when we can finally feast on them after sundown!


This is particularly the case with the dish without which Ramadan simply wouldn’t be Ramadan: my delicate and succulent chicken briwats!

Some of my fondest memories as a girl back in Morocco include me – during the Ramadan fast – in the kitchen with the other women working throughout the day to prepare chicken and prawn briwats. It is exhausting business, particularly when one is fasting – but it is all worth it in the end as the reward is amazing!


Of course Zayane customers know all about briwats after having tried them at our award winning restaurant and reading about them on one of our recent blogs. As such, my son and co-Head Chef Joe and I would like to give thanks for your loyalty by showing you how to make another classic Moroccan briwat recipe at home – our recipe for chicken briwats. Of course, if you have somehow never tried a briwats, stop whatever you are doing now, make this recipe and enjoy its wonder-inducing deliciousness. If you celebrate Ramadan, my recipe for chicken briwats will go a long way to spice up your own iftar with friends and family, particularly when paired with my recipe for harira soup!


So here it is – my recipe for light and delicious chicken briwats.

I have another gift for you: my recipe for my prawn briwats. But if you want to get your hands on it, you’ll have to get in touch with me on Instagramor Twitter!


Best of luck creating your very own briwats in your own kitchens, and if you have any questions, reach out to me at Zayane or on social media.


Ramadan Mubarak!


Recipe for Chicken Briwats



  • 1 whole chicken 
  • 2 medium onions finely chopped 
  • garlic as desired finely chopped 
  • 1 bunch of parsley and coriander finely chopped
  • lemon juice as desired
  • 1 tbsp freshly ginger grated
  • saffron (put in hot water before use) or
  • turmeric if saffron is not available 
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp mustard powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 preserved lemons (use skin only)
  • olives red or green as desired
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • spring roll pastry
  • 1beaten egg


  1. Before cooking, marinate chicken in the spices and garlic for at least 2 hours in the fridge.
  2. Place onions, chicken, marinade juices and herbs in the tagine (or pan) and add olives, preserved lemons and 1 cup of water.
  3. Cook on low heat for one hour.
  4. Once cooked, shred the chicken off the bone and reserve the sauce for later.
  5. Take one spring roll sheet and cover the rest with a damp cloth. Cut into
    three rectangles. Use one at the time and cover the other two as they dry
  6. Put one tbsp of the shredded chicken with a bit of the reserved sauce to moisten the chicken in one corner of the pastryand fold the pastry over it (to make a triangle) keep rolling and tuckingand then glue the end with the egg wash. You will end up with a samosashape. You could also shape it as a spring roll.
  7. Deep fry until golden brown or bake in oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 5-
    10 minutes.


Humble, Delicious Food

One of my favourite restaurants in the world is La Merendain Nice, France – a simple little hole-in-the-wall whose internationally celebrated reputation is based on it signature dish: tagliatelle au pistou. Tagliatelleis merely French for the famous Italian pasta tagliatellepistouis a basil-based sauce that looks similar to a traditional Genovese pesto, but doesn’t include pine nuts and it more heavy-handed on the garlic.

Tagliatelle au pistouis humble, delicious food – and after a day on Nice’s rocky beach, it is a bowl of heaven when paired with some Côtes de Provence Rosé.

This is a dish that requires about five ingredients, and yet it is the personification of the deliciousness and abundance of Provenacal cuisine, to the extent that La Merenda’s proprietorDominique Le Stanc abandoned his long career as a renowned Michelin-starred chef to dedicate himself to mastering tagliatelle au pistou.


Last time I enjoyed the signature dish at La Merenda, I wondered what is the tagliatelle au pistou of Moroccan cuisine for me was. Which dish did I enjoy in my youth in Casablanca that was as delicious as it was simple? Which dish – its humbleness notwithstanding – utterly evaded my ability to master it? Which dish did I long for when I was homesick for Morocco? The answer was clear – crevettes marinieres.

Crevettes marinieres is simply king prawns cooked in a spicy tomato sauce and I would frequently enjoy it at this small, quaint restaurant in Casablanca over 30 years ago. This simple eatery sold only prawns, calamari, grilled sardines and chips – despite its limited offering, its quality was such that there would be a queue around the block nearly at all times of the day. Their simple, humble food was made fresh and with love and – as a result – tasted beyond amazing.


When I finally moved to Britain, whenever I longed for Morocco, I would attempt to make crevettes marinieres at home.

While what I made was tasty… it wasn’t the same. I kept trying… and trying… but as if I were stuck in culinary quick sand, the more ferocious my attempts to recreate the dish, the further removed the flavour was from the original version. I was cursed to live a life in which I was separated by miles and miles from my favourite comfort food.

And then I had an epiphany, a brazenly obvious one. Two years ago I went back to Casablanca to visit family and friends. One of the first things I did was visit my favourite hole-in-the-wall to dive headlong into a portion of crevettes marinieres. After practically licking the plate clean, I did the unthinkable – I went up to kind man behind the counter and asked him for the recipe. He obliged!


Good things – sometimes – come to those who wait. I waited nearly 30 years for this recipe and now I can cook crevettes marinieres whenever I choose. I can do two more things, too – I can cook them for you, Zayane’s patrons, and I can also share this secret recipe with you, too.


This recipe is extremely special to me and it will give you the taste of Moroccan cuisine that is possibly even lost on a restaurant of Zayane’s quality.

This recipe for crevettes marinieres will give you the humble, delicious food that will take your palate on a trip to the street food of Casablanca, Morocco.


Please get in touch on Instagramor Twitterto tell me what you think of this recipe. Better yet, come to Zayane and tell me directly! If you have any questions or if you are running into trouble, get in touch, too!


Recipe for Crevettes Marinieres


  • 3 tbsp olives olive oil
  • 1 jar of chopped tomatoes or 1 kg fresh tomatoes skinned and chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 chopped fresh chilli
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped finely
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 kg king prawns
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh bread to serve



  1. Heat oil in a pan add all ingredients but not the prawns. Cook for at least 20 minutes on low heat.
  2. Add the prawns just before serving and cook for 3 min (this sauce can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for two days).
  3. Adjust seasoning and served with fresh bread.



Ramadan is Abundance, Not Lack

In my – perhaps – limited view, the salient adjective that non-Muslims associate with the holy month of Ramadan is lack: the lack of food and water from which we are deprived for the fast that is needed to stay energised and hydrated to live both joyfully and zestfully. A common question that one might ask a Muslim friend or colleague is, ‘how do you do it?’ or, ‘is it really difficult?’ In truth, fasting for a whole day – particularly if Ramadan occurs during the long and somewhat warm days of British Summer – really can be difficult. And yet, to view Ramadan as anything other than a month of complete and utter abundance is to entirely miss the point.

Ramadan brings family together and it is a month of socialising and taking the time out to see your dearest friends.

Of course, Ramadan is to step into the infinite abundance that is God – but even if you takes a more secular or humanist view of such things, the energy of Ramadan is ideal for looking inward and taking pause to appreciate and respect the world and the souls, creatures and nature who occupy it.


The abundance of Ramadan is perhaps best symbolised by the iftar meal – a feast filled with some of Moroccan cuisine’s most delectable and special dishes.

Back in Morocco, much of the day is spent preparing the magnificent iftar meal, but frequently the pace of London life doesn’t give us the chance to dedicate ourselves to this to the desired extent. Due to a combination of popular demand and our wish to offer London an authentic Ramadan culinary experience, Zayane has brought back its iftar menu. Our aim is to reproduce last year’s magic – to welcome our guests into Zayane as members of our family and to create a vibrant and social environment in which friends and family can connect and enjoy some truly scrumptious, healthy and energising food. Lastly, while it is usually only Muslims who celebrate Ramadan – at Zayane all faiths and persuasions are invited to enjoy our authentic Moroccan iftar.

Zayane’s iftarmenu begins with our fragrant vegan harira soup  accompanied by madjoul dates and our homemade shebakia.

Dates occupy a special place for all Muslims’ iftar, as not only are they a rich source of fibre, potassium, calcium and energy, but also the Prophet Muhammad advised that they are the ideal way to break one’s fast. Shebakiais a Moroccan favourite – deep fried dough dipped in honey, which helps top up one’s blood sugar post-fast. Once the fast is broken by this first course, it is time to visit one of the nearby local mosques for prayers, and then to come back for the rest of the iftar feast (of course, if you choose not to go to prayers, you can carry on eating!).

Zayane Notting Hill

Next on the menu are two more Moroccan iftar classics: msemen– a flat Moroccan bread – and baghrir– a light and delicious pancake – that we serve with honey and homemade butter. This course is followed by a dish that I remember from the Ramadan celebrations from when I was a child – shakshouka. This dish isn’t necessarily one enjoyed by all families for iftar, but it is absolutely delicious so you’ll be happy I’m serving it! It is a delicious spiced tomato sauce served with a poached egg.


At this point in the meal you might be stuffed, but if you are among those fasting you should do your best to accumulate all the nutrients you can get for the fast the following day! For our final dish, we are serving organic chicken that is marinated in Moroccan spices and then cooked to perfection on an open flame grill. Even the greediest eaters will now be fully satisfied and energised for a busy and joyful tomorrow. The meal concludes with Moroccan mint tea to help digest, or coffee, milk or fresh juice.


Zayane’s iftar menu will be £25 per person and will be served every evening during Ramadan. Right now this is scheduled to be from Tuesday, 15 May to Thursday, 14 June – but of course the days may vary depending on the Moon.

We invite you if you are a religious Muslim, if you are a secular Muslim or even if you aren’t a Muslim at all! If you do plan on joining us for iftar, it is recommended that you make an advanced reservation as we were fully booked each night last year.


From my family to yours – Ramadan Mubarak!


To view our iftar menu, click here.


To make a booking ring us 020 8960 1137 or book online.




Your Perfect Private Party

The answer to the questions ‘what is the perfect private party?’ is a bit like the one elicited by asking ‘what is the best dish in Moroccan cuisine?’ – a highly subjective and personal one.

This doesn’t necessarily make life easier for the professional party planner! But easy is boring and lets one’s imagination and creativity stagnate, which would be unacceptable for Joe and me. The lack of clear-cut rules and regulations in delivering the perfect private party time and time again gives scope to making each one completely and totally unique. When we have a new private party client, we ask for their vision for their dream event. We embrace this little ‘seed’ the client gives us and we then wrap it in Zayane’s party planning expertise to let it flourish into the spectacular and memorable event that is desired.


If you are reading this blog you are probably interested in having a private party of some sort. You likely have an idea in your head of what it is you’re looking for – as such,

I’d like to personally walk you through what a Zayane event might look like.


When your guests arrive they will enter a spacious room with dimmed lights and candles that will subtlety illuminate our Moroccan décor that flows into our modern-designed bar, tables and smartly adorned servers passing out elegant flutes of Champagne and mouthwatering canapés. As you and your party chit-chat and sip and savour the delightful drink and nibbles, chilled-out vibes courtesy of the traditional Moroccan music will emanate from the rabab(fiddle),oud (lute)and qanun (zither) through our sound system. Then – out of no where – our beautiful and highly skilled belly dancer will emerge for a taste scintillating Moroccan entertainment, a feature that comes complimentary for Zayane private parties.

Zayane Moroccan Food Catering and Events

After the excitement of the belly dancing, it is time to take our seats for the sumptuous Moroccan feast.

Just after your glass is filled with the tipple of your choice, we will put in front of you and your guests a delicious spread of Moroccan starters, including merguez saucissons, pan-seared squid, blow-torched Cornish Mackerel as well as vegetarian options like our deep-fried aubergines and spicy truffle cauliflower croquettes.

To kick the party up a notch we will follow this with a selection of our famous briwats (include link to briwat blog).


It is now time for the main course. Guest can choose from our set menu, a la carte or a bespoke menu that we design with the client. Options might include our chicken tagine (include link to relevant blog), pan-seared halibut or for vegans and vegetarians our chickpea fritters or artichoke tagine with preserved lemons. After a satisfying dessert – maybe our rosewater cheesecake or trio of sweet briwats – and another glass of wine or some Moroccan mint tea, let the evening devolve into conversation and a spot of dancing!


This is a snapshot of a recent private party we hosted and catered at Zayane.

It was a most special event filled with good food, wine and fun. If you are at all interested in having your own private party, please speak to me – Meryem – directly and I can turn your idea into the stunning party of a lifetime!


For Private Party inquiries please ring Meryem at 020 8960 1137 or email her at








Recipe: Zayane’s Harira – I Can’t Believe It’s Vegan!

‘You went vegan, why would you do that to yourself?’ I heard a robust, bearded man say at a social event I recently attended. The context was clear – a friend of mine confessed to the crowd that she had recently decided to go from vegetarian to full vegan, and this rather abrasive gentleman couldn’t help but view her lifestyle choice as some for of punishment or self-flagellation. In hearing the exchange it reminded me that the more dogmatic carnivores out there tend to view vegan and even vegetarian food as insipid, bland or even downright disgusting.

I should come out and be honest – I, Meryem Mortell – founder and Head Chef at Zayane, am neither a vegan nor a vegetarian. However, what I find bizarre is the brazen ignorance when it comes to the utter deliciousness of vegan cuisine.

Moroccan food has plenty of examples of dishes that have been vegan and vegetarian way before it was ‘trendy’ – in fact they are traditionally made as 100% plant-based dishes simple because that is how they are often most delicious.

In my humble view, the most stunning example of Moroccan cuisine’s potential for vegan goodness is Morocco’s most famous soup – Harira.


Harira is made – and savoured – throughout Morocco.

It can be made vegan or vegetarian – in some cases it is made with pieces of meat in it. At Zayane we make it 100% vegan both because that is how I personally think it taste best and most authentic, but also to include all dietary requirements in it’s utter deliciousness. Our version is essentially a spiced tomato soup rich with herbs and pulses – it isn’t gluten free as it contains both flour and vermicelli (however, we are able to make it gluten free – please just let us know 24 hours before you dine with Zayane!). I personally make every fragrant and warming batch of harira at Zayane. I once entrusted this important task to my son and co-Head Chef Joe, and suffice it to say that despite him being an amazing Moroccan chef, it didn’t turn out quite the way I like it… I suppose one has to literally be from Morocco to make it taste perfectly authentic (sorry Joe!). Whether or not my version taste as authentic and delicious as I think it does, all I can say is that most of our Moroccan customers have confessed that it reminds them of their mum’s harira back home, which is rather flattering!


Like most of my Moroccan culinary repertoire, my ability to cook amazing harira came through my mother’s tutelage.

Her version – which included egg and small tender chunks of lamb – was (and remains) exquisite and the talk of the town throughout the year, but in particular during Ramadan. During this holy period in Morocco, harira soup is enjoyed daily as it is packed full of vitamins and minerals and helps revive and re-energise us after the day of fasting. During Ramadan the tempting fragrance of harira playfully wafts through the air as you pass by each house where it is being prepared for iftar, or when we break our fast after sundown. At Zayane we are proud to announce that Sky TV recently filmed a special about how I make my harira soup – it will be showing next month just before the start of Ramadan.


So after all this talk of harira, you probably want to enjoy a piping hot bowl, yourself.

The easy solution is to find your way to Zayane in Notting Hill where I can personally serve you some. Or… you can make it yourself at home with Zayane’s own recipe! To be perfectly honest, as Joe experienced, making harira isn’t the easiest dish to make for a novice as the quantity of concasse tomatoes, herbs, spices and flour have to be right for it to come out perfect.  But don’t worry – I’ve made the following recipe with these difficulties in mind to make your cooking efforts a bit easier!


Enjoy and please don’t forget to tell us what you think of our recipe on social media!

Zayane's Harira Recipe

Recipe for Zayane’s Harira


  • 1 celery chopped finely
  • 1 bowl of chopped parsley
  • 1 bowl of chopped coriander
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 kg of tomatoes skinned, de-seeded and chopped or 1 bottle of passata.
  • 2tbsp of tomato purée
  • 1 cup of brown lentils
  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 2 vegetarian stock cubes
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp aged butter (optional)
  • 2 tbsp vermicelli
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil



  1. Put celery, herbs, lentils, onion, tomato purée and spices in a large heavy pan and cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Cover with water to 3/4 of the pan. Cook until lentils are cooked about 40 minutes. Add tomatoes and stock cubes. Cook for 15 minutes. Add vermicelli and chickpeas. Cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Prepare flour mix. Put flour in a large bowl add 2 cups of cold water, mix into a paste with no lumps. Add water if too thick. It has to be the consistency of French pancakes.
  4. Add to the soup while stirring constantly. Cook for another 20 min. Add the aged butter if desired. Enjoy!


Recipe: Chicken (Tagine) Day

When I was a child, ‘chicken day’ was a most special day. It meant that my whole family – 2 adults and 6 children – would feast on a fragrant chicken tagine.

We would devour it with utter delight, licking our fingers at the end so as not to miss out on even a microscopic bit of the goodness. The tagine – along with the side dishes and freshly made Moroccan ‘focaccia-style’ bread – made us one big, happy and smiling family… though not without a bit of Moroccan-spiced chicken jus smattered across our satisfied lips.


‘Chicken day’ wasn’t just about the meal – it was about the journey from live chicken to scrumptious chicken tagine.

Zayane’s Recipe for Moroccan Chicken Tagine 2

Unlike in Britain, if you want to eat chicken in Morocco, you don’t buy it at the supermarket.

You don’t even meander down to your local butcher. This would be tantamount to Moroccan culinary heresy. Back home we need to know the origin of our chicken along with a guarantee that it is fresh. There’s an obvious way of securing these vital assurances and while it is a rather messy process, it nonetheless was as essential a feature of ‘chicken day’ as any other.


When I was a young girl, ‘chicken day’ began with my mother and I walking down to the souk to choose a nice red organic chicken. That’s right, a living and breathing one. When we arrived back home, my mum would place the red hen in a large pot and kill it. It isn’t the most pleasant thing to witness or perform, but it is an experience that reminds one that meat just doesn’t grow on trees and that every piece of meat you savour comes from a living creature with its own life and history.


Once dead, we would place the chicken in boiling water to make the plucking process easier. We would then diligently pluck all the feathers, but despite our best efforts, there would always remain fine hairs on the chicken. These are not worth the trouble to pluck so instead they were singed over an open flame on the hob. It was tedious work but a job that we approached meticulously as even a single bit of fluff left on the chicken would risk ruining the delicious, sumptuous tagine (and its flavoursome skin) that was to come.  Once fully defeathered, mum would thoroughly wash the chicken with salt, remove (and save) the giblets et voila…  it would be ready for marinating!

Zayane’s Recipe for Moroccan Chicken Tagine

Before cooking our fresh, organic chicken, we would rub it with finely chopped garlic, lemon juice, ginger, saffron, cumin, mustard powder and salt and pepper.

We would let it sit for a couple hours in the fridge before cooking it in the tagine with plenty of olives and – most importantly – preserved lemons. For a final touch, the giblets are added at the very end so they wouldn’t disintegrate. Shortly thereafter, my family and I would be pulled into the dinning room by the chicken’s unmistakable fragrance and we would be met with a huge steaming tagine in the middle of the table surrounded by a range of refreshing and tasty Moroccan salads and plenty of bread with which to mop up any left-over tagine sauce.


Joe and I would like to share with you our family’s take on the traditional Moroccan chicken tagine. For our recipe, we invite you to click here:


Zayane’s Recipe for Moroccan Chicken Tagine



  • 1 whole chicken 
  • 2 medium onions finely chopped 
  • garlic as desired finely chopped 
  • 1 bunch of parsley and coriander finely chopped
  • lemon juice as desired
  • 1 tbsp freshly ginger grated
  • saffron (put in hot water before use) or
  • turmeric if saffron is not available 
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp mustard powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 preserved lemons (use skin only)
  • olives red or green as desired
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil


  1. Before cooking, marinate chicken in the spices and garlic for at least 2 hours in the fridge.
  2. Place onions, chicken, marinade juices and herbs in the tagine (or pan) and add olives, preserved lemons and 1 cup of water.
  3. Cook on low heat for one hour.



Innovating Tradition with Tradition– Zayane’s Bakoula Briwats

At Zayane my son Joe and I have a dish that isn’t just a culinary innovation, it
challenges the innovation process. On the one hand it goes far beyond merely
reinvigorating an originally Moroccan concept with European ingredients that
are passed through the prism of modern preparation and presentation. On the
other hand, one might argue that our tasty dish is forged in a far more humble
hue of originality and creativity.

It is a dish comprised of two measures of
traditional Moroccan cookery, and a modest measure of imagination.

Our dish
goes by the double-barrel Bakoula Briwats: two words that will be instantly
recognisable to Moroccan culinary savants, which often belong together in the
same Moroccan meal or even on the same dinner table. But it is only at Zayane
where these staples of Moroccan cuisine are fused together into one delectable

The first element is bakoula – a dish that is adored throughout Morocco.

It is awarm salad made from mallow, preserved lemons, olives, garlic, herbs and – for
those who like a spicy kick – roasted or fresh chilli. This tasty and healthy dish is
eaten with Moroccan semolina bread. When in season, mallow is Morocco’s
favourite leafy green, which we buy in bunches in the souks, or harvest wherever
the delicious edible weed grows. As mallow is hard to come by in Britain, our
bakoula at Zayane incorporates a mixture of kale and spinach that gives this
salad a remarkably similar taste and texture to the original version. It can be
enjoyed as a light and healthy snack, starter or side dish.

The second character in this gastronomic marriage is a briwat, a stuffed
triangular parcel made from Moroccan warka filo pastry that can be savoury or

The most commonly enjoyed briwats are the sweet variety made with an
irresistible almond filling. Back home we eat almond briwats with Moroccan
mint tea as an afternoon ‘pick-me- up’ or as a special dessert. At Zayane, Joe and I
offer hungry guests a delectable range of savoury briwats, including duck, king
prawn and Camembert, as well as our tempting hazelnut, cheesecake and
chocolate briwats for dessert.

So how do Joe and I combine these two authentic dishes that have long been
enjoyed on their own, without being infused into one another?

Why would we
risk upsetting the culinary equilibrium – and offending Moroccan foodie
traditionalists – by doing so? At Zayane we are always exploring new flavours
and combinations and are particularly excited when our experiments result in
food that is as delicious as it is healthy. The first time we placed a generous
spoonful of bakoula salad into a triangle of warka pastry, the resulting briwats
were a burst of scrumptious vegetarian goodness. We threw tradition to the
wind and innovated with our eyes and imaginations firmly fixed on some of
Moroccan cuisine’s most humble dishes.
We’d like to welcome you to Zayane to try our spectacular Kale and Spinach
Briwats (Bakoula Briwats) – but if you prefer to try this Zayane innovation in
your own kitchen, click here for the recipe!

Recipe for Kale and Spinach Briwats

 1 kg kale (chop if large and discard large stalks)
 1 kg spinach
 2 preserved lemons (large), skin only, finely chopped
 1 handful kalamata olives, chopped
 1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
 1 bunch of coriander, finely chopped
 5 cloves of garlic finely sliced
 ½ cup olive oil
 1 tbsp sweet paprika
 1 tbsp cumin
 2 tbsp lemon juice
 1 tbsp harissa sauce (optional)
 spring roll pastry
 1 beaten egg
1. Heat olive oil in a large deep pan, add spices.
2. Let them sizzle for 2 min then add garlic. Cook garlic but do not let it
3. Add all other ingredients but the spinach.
4. Stir with a wooden spoon until kale is cooked.
5. Add spinach and cook until wilted.
6. Put in colander to cool down and also get rid of excess liquids.
7. Take one spring roll sheet and cover the rest with a damp cloth. Cut into
three rectangles. Use one at the time and cover the other two as they dry
8. Put one tbsp of the kale and spinach mixture in one corner of the pastry
and fold the pastry over it (to make a triangle) keep rolling and tucking
and then glue the end with the egg wash. You will end up with a samosa
shape. You could also shape it as a spring roll.
9. Deep fry until golden brown or bake in oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 5-
10 minutes.

One of a Kind in London – Our New Scrumptious Brunch Dish

On March 1 st 2018, while London was snowed under, something special
descended upon my son and I whilst cooped up in Zayane’s kitchen.

Zayane Restaurant London

In our chef’s whites we stared down at it – an appetising kaleidoscope of succulent lamb, fruit,leaves and cheese with a perfectly cooked fried egg on top.

We had never seen
anything like it and I closed my eyes, imagining just how amazing it would look
on Instagram .
We tasted it… mon dieu, I said under my breath. This will do, I thought. ‘Joseph,’ I
said, turning to my son, whose expression of joy made it clear to see that he was
as impressed as I was by our little creation. I continued: ‘This dish isn’t just one
of a kind in London and Morocco…. You can’t find it anywhere in the world. It is
unique to Zayane!’ We then did a somewhat awkward mother-son high-five and
let the elation of inventing a culinary delicacy out of thin air filled our beings.
What we made that frigid, snowy day was none other than pulled, slow cooked
Moroccan-spiced lamb tossed with Moroccan tomato salsa, onions, crunchy
rocket, creamy avocado, chunks of feta cheese and pomegranate topped with an
organic fried egg and molasses. It is a hitherto unseen blend of ingredients and
the result is a light, healthy and deeply flavoursome dish perfectly suited to
brunch. Not only is it the kind of moreish dish that people will crave after a
weekend lie-in, the protein from the lamb and egg and potassium from the
avocado, not to mention the vitamin A and C, beta-carotene, and antioxidants
from the tomatoes, all combine to make an excellent hangover cure! It happens
to taste amazing with a (spicy) Bloody Mary, but if brunch is too early for a drink,

Moroccan Mint Tea

I’d recommend one of our homemade smoothies or – my personal favourite – a
pot of Moroccan mint tea.

In truth, that fateful snowy morning in which we discovered Zayane’s new
brunch dish, you could say that my son and I were trying to correct and improve
one of Morocco’s most famous breakfast dishes… and in the process make
something that was purely our own creation. The traditional and very popular
breakfast dish I’m talking about is a tagine of egg and khliaa, or lamb cooked and
preserved in its very own fat. It is an acquired taste – particularly for the British
– and something that my son and I find fairly off-putting as it is tremendously
fatty, unhealthy and way too heavy on the stomach.
Despite the khliaa dish being unappealing to British tastes, at Zayane we have a
special place in our heart for lamb.

We love it and believe this meat is an ingredient of which Moroccan cuisine makes exquisite use. As such, we wanted
to give London a lamb brunch dish that incorporated Moroccan ingredients that
the British would also enjoying eating…

We wanted to give them a brunch dish
that was as delicious as it was light and healthy. Guess what… We succeeded!
Our pulled lamb is slow cooked to maximise this meat’s health benefits and is
combined with heart-healthy super foods like avocado and pomegranate that
Moroccans eat daily, not to mention our Moroccan salsa of chopped tomatoes,
onions, cucumber, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This is a dish that will satisfy

you on every level – its colours will hypnotise you while its delicious aroma and
flavour will seduce you and keep you coming back for more.

Our scrumptious new brunch dish is truly one of a kind and something of which
my son and I very proud.

We’d love to know if you are as impressed by it as we
are… so get over here, try it and let us know!
Hope to serve you a plate one weekend very soon.