Growing up in a Morrocan house takes me years back to childhood memories and dishes that I can not allow myself not to share with my husband and kids, especially when I live so far away from home. This dish is very popular in my country, Israel. My grandmother used to make it with chicken- which is beyond divine. But with a little extra love and care, I was able to bring back the authentic flavors, just as it was, but without the protein. Still delicious, still festive, and beyond satisfying. You can eat it with good rustic bread, or just like I love it, with good old plain white rice! And I can NEVER wait for it to be ready, so I make sure to keep testing it as it cooks.
1). Soak or cook the olive in boiling hot water for 30 minutes. Drain and wash very very well.
2). Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil, diced onions, red bell pepper, and saute for about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
3). Add the spices and mix, then the tomato and stir until everything is nice and fragrant. About a minute.
4). Add the water, olives, tomato paste and bring to a boil.
5). Lower the heat and cook low and slow for an hour or so, until the sauce is nice and thick and the olives are somewhat soft.
6). Just towards the end, add the chopped cilantro and mix.
7). Serve on a bed of white rice or in a separate dis