Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Matbucha, A Moroccan Tomato Chutney!

Matbucha, cha, מטבוחה with that guttural cha/ha, Middle Eastern sound you hear in Semite languages, some say in Spanish too. This Moroccan/North African dish is reduction of the tomatoes to very intense savory jam.  Some add char grilled or roasted and peeled bell peppers to it, it gives this savory relish a sweeter tang. You can find interesting information about the origin of the dish and more here.
Again, one of the many arrays of salads and spreads at Friday night dinners in many homes in Israel.  Perfect as a side dish to spread on challah. I even like to spread it on The Perfect Honey (raisin) Challah for that spicy, tangy flavor of the Matbucha with a surprise sweet bite of the raisin in the challah
I also served the Matbucha many times at New Year Eve's parties as the base layer or building block of a baguette crostini or a bruschetta, top it with roasted eggplant and roasted bell peppers and garnish with parsley, for a beautiful cocktail party hors d'oeuvres, or lunch appetizer with the girls. You can also make it ahead and serve as one of the sauces for a summer BBQ. It is a staple at our home year round.
Going back to building blocks, I strongly feel that the first layer of the crostini is most important, that is the layer that gives you and dictates the other flavors and ingredients to match.  Once you made a statement with a 'wowing' matbucha on a crostini, you can afford layering it with a plainly roasted bell pepper or eggplant, in their own juices, not compromised, in the purest form and essence of their flavors. Just like the Moroccan preserved Meyer lemons can be used as that 'wowing' effect and topped with avocado and just a touch of capers or anchovies on top. Trust me if I won over a friend of mine that does not like spicy foods, eggplant, anchovies and Moroccan preserved lemons, you too will win over the most finicky eaters in your circles.

Keep in mind as always to be attentive and nurturing to your dishes as you cook them, just like sweating garlic (when not burning it) it will puff in fuzzy white puffs, this chutney will get an intense color and flavor as it reduces slowly and patiently on the stove with much love.  Make it your own to a degree 'cause' I love my version just so.  My friend in Israel uses only 4-5 cloves of garlic, I use 8 garlic cloves. Also I use 2 large jalapenos in hopes that they are spicy. If you can't take the heat, use 1/2-1 seeded. Now all is left is to jar it!

Matbucha מטבוחה

Ingredients:
4 medium tomatoes on the vine or Roma tomatoes
1 can (14.5oz) of whole Roma tomatoes
4-8 garlic cloves - minced
2 large jalapeno peppers, sliced into thin discs or halved length wise and sliced thin into half moons
1/2-1 scant teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons canola oil

Directions:
Blanching tomatoes: Boil some water, turn off and drop tomatoes in for few seconds.  Fish tomatoes out of the water. Peel skin off, it should come off easily.  Dice (according to preference some like this salad chunky) peeled tomatoes and add to a large sauce pan. Drain canned tomato juices into diced tomatoes, chop canned tomatoes a rough chop and add to pot with fresh tomatoes. Mince garlic directly into tomato mixture. Slice jalapeno and add to tomatoes together with oil and salt. Turn heat on bring to a boil and reduce to low. Let bubble slowly, uncovered, until the moisture almost completely evaporates. Matbucha will have deep red/orange color and a jam/relish consistency. Stir the sauce occasionally so it won't stick to bottom of pot and burn.  Adjust for salt as the Matbucha reduces. Let cool and store in fridge.

I used to elevated my son's school lunch sandwiches with a touch of Matbucha, his usual Whole Foods peppered turkey and thinly sliced cucumbers to balance the bite of the tomato jam. His friends were begging him to trade lunches even pay for it. He wouldn't! :)

Note on the oil:  The oil in the dish has double purpose to it, not only as a lubricant for the pot so that the Matbucha won't scorch, but also as a preservative.  In our house it doesn't last that long but it will keep well for up to a week unless you can it to preserve it even longer.

Related posts:
@foodBridge's North African Hot Sauce for a Cold Winter’s Day

30 comments :

  1. It sounds amazing, like a more flavorful version of bruschetta if you use it to top challah. But a great building block for many things. I'm going to keep it in mind, for when my favorite farms starts bringing tomatoes to the farmer's markets.

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  2. This looks so good and I love how you focus on building up the flavor of a crostini!

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  3. I love the recipes that use ripe summer tomatoes in their simplest and sweetest form. Whatever you call it, and however you pronounce it, it has to be really good. I think that I can master the Semitic "ch" sound, too!

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  4. Yum! Bookmarked. Think I'll make this the next time I bake challah. Mmmm...

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  5. This just reminds me of sambal. yummmm

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  6. This looks delicious! I love chutney's, relish's, etc.! A good southern dish is grits with tomato gravy and I bet this would be great mixed into some yellow grits for a spicy, tomatoey, kick!! Great directions too. I'll be trying this soon :-)
    @alanecooke

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  7. This looks wonderful! Bookmarked! Thanks ;)

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  8. I can see the magic of the new Nikon! Fabulous shot Shulie.


    I love the focus on the crostini!


    And I love Matbucha. We do something very similar, doesn't involve jalapenos. Served as a chutney with food.

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  9. I like the way you decribe the matbucha- Moroccan tomato chutney, that's exactly what it is. Great pics! Added your link to my post too, thanks.

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  10. I like matbucha but have not made it in a while. I think, I should make it, Friday. If I get to it, I will let you know how it turned out.

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  11. I agree with Joyti. This feels like a better version bruschetta wuth such nice and intense flavors. Love it.

    P.S. - great job with the pictures!

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  12. Love it Shulie!! Specially loved those little tips from you. These are the little thing sthat make all the difference (that's what my mom says!) I am sure kids would beg your son for a bite :-) I am definitely gonna try your recipe for Matbucha.

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  13. I can practically taste this just from looking at the picture! Matbucha doesn't last long in my home either Shulie; it's amazing with a traditional Moroccan bread hot out of the oven. Beautiful post, wish you were so I could have a bite right now!

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  14. What a lovely post! It made me want to go and make Matbucha myself... Great pics too.

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  15. I love Matbucha! I'm working on a new blog post about bruschetta/crostini and I think Matbucha with a slice of cheddar cheese and a sprig of fresh basil would be absolutely delicious! Thanks for such a great recipe!

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  16. Ah, Shulie, you will teach me to slow down and cook quietly and with patience.... what a stunning "chutney" if I may and I can just imagine the fabulous flavors. My husband would be thrilled if I made this but then I would have to bake a Challah to eat it with. Gorgeous photos!

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  17. you had me at the word moroccan ! looks delicious

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  18. oh how i love this one Shulie - i'm not necessarily a 'spicy' kinda girl but i can see where that spice adds another dimension to the overall flavor - would love to have enough tomatoes from my garden to make this!

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  19. I love the sound of this - fantastically concentrated in all these amazing flavours.

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  20. that looks so refreshing and delicious!

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  21. Great pics. My husband works for an Israeli company and he gets to Visit Tel Aviv almost every year. When comes back, he brings tons of goodies and recipes like burekas from his friend's mom and wife. I love Mediterranean food and your blog is one stop to find the recipes. Glad that I found your space.

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  22. Thank you everyone please make this versatile salad and let me know how it turns out. Still exploring the camera but so far so good not as intmidating as I thought. VS you gave me an idea maybe I will make burekas next! :) Have a great rest of the week everyone and please drop by again on Friday we got another Mac Diva guest surprise!

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  23. Can't wait to try this on a nice piece of bread, sounds so intense and flavorful.

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  24. This looks fantastic! I've never tasted it but seeing what is in it I know I'll love it!

    Beautiful photos!

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  25. Absolutely love this ... vibrant & exciting!!

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  26. Bright flavors in this matbucha. Look forward to following your kitchen adventures here.

    Be well

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  27. I have some jalapenos in the fridge and wasn't sure how to use the. Bookmarking this to try soon.

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  28. A beautiful matbucha! I love that kind of "sauce". Perfect with meat or on batbout bread...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  29. I'm a new follower and must say that I absolutely love your blog and all the gorgeous photos! We get really good prepared matbucha in the refrigerated section of supermarkets here in France (along with other Israeli and Moroccan salads/condiments), but I imagine that it is even better if you make it yourself! I look forward to trying!

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