I Have Mimouna Envy. (So What Is Mimouna?)
As Passover draws to a close, I’m starting to feel holiday-deprived. Envious, really. It’s not that I want more matzo — I’m not insane. It’s that there’s a holiday, Mimouna, which marks the end of Passover for North African Jews, that I have never celebrated. And it sounds delicious.
I decided to investigate on a number of levels. First, what exactly is this holiday? Second, are there any celebrations I might join, whether at a restaurant, a synagogue or some other public space? If not, and if I can’t get myself invited to a Moroccan friend’s family feast, what can I make at home to mark the holiday and indulge in some Moroccan food, which is among my favorite cuisines?
To answer the first question, I turned to a couple of articles previously published in the Forward. Our friend and former colleague Anne Cohen, a Montreal native of Jewish-Moroccan descent, wrote this piece a few years ago:
Not only does it explain what the holiday means to her, but it provides a recipe for her grandmother’s “couscous au lait” — or couscous with milk — which her family eats at the holiday.
Another former colleague, Lior Zaltzman, wrote last year about a Moroccan bar in Tel Aviv, called Tangier, which hosted an “adopt an Ashkenazi for Mimouna” event. I checked, and they’re doing it again. Too bad I’m not in Tel Aviv.
Which brings me to recipes. I have a suggestible palate, which means I’m yearning for a tagine right about now. So here are some dishes I might make on Tuesday night, once Passover has ended and Mimouna has officially begun. The first one is a recipe of mine that’s cooked in a pressure cooker, which is great for a weeknight celebration:
This one’s fairly similar, but cooked the traditional way:
And here’s a vegetarian couscous option:
Serve any of the above with Janna Gur’s spicy, simple Moroccan carrot salad, and you’ve got yourself a festive Moroccan-style meal to celebrate Mimouna.