Belgian cuisine is widely varied with significant regional variations while also reflecting the cuisines of neighbouring France, Germany and the Netherlands. It is sometimes said that Belgian food is served in the quantity of German cuisine but with quality of French food. But at over 4% of Moroccan population of Belgium, which is the highest percentagewise in Europe, we may not leave the Moroccan cuisine out of consideration which has made a great influence on the Belgian cuisine. But how is the Moroccan cuisine? It is known for dishes like couscous, pastilla, and others. Spices such as cinnamon are used in the Moroccan cooking. But my favorite product what I always buy whenever I am in Belgium is the merguez. It is a spicy mutton-beef or lamb-based fresh sausage (it is very important in the North African cuisine) and it is a mixture of minced and spiced meat stuffed into a lamb-intestine casing. It is also popular in the Middle East, in Europe having become particularly popular in France and Belgium by the closing decades of the twentieth century. Nowadays merguez sausage is available in all shops in Belgium however if someone has a chance to order a plate with merguez in a Moroccan restaurant will see the difference between the shop sausage and the restaurant one because in the Moroccan restaurants the merguez is heavily spiced with cumin and chili pepper or Harissa, which gives it its characteristic piquancy and red color, as well as other spices such as sumac, fennel, and garlic. Otherwise the merguez is eaten grilled or with couscous. Dried merguez is used to add flavor to tagines. It is also eaten in sandwiches and with french fries.
Grilled merguez plate with cooked corn and French baguette
Ingredients: 1/4 cup mayonnaise +1 tablespoon harissa, caramelized onion, manchego cheese, 8 links merguez, 1 French baguette, 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1 bunch fresh cilantro, rocket
Methods: Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill merguez over hot side of grill until browned all over and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total. Transfer to plate. Prepare onion rings, caramelize them with a bit of sugar.
Slice baguette into four 6-inch portions and halve each portion lengthwise. Brush cut side of each baguette with oil. Grill baguette over hot side of grill, cut side down, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Remove to plate.
Top bottom half of baguette with 2 merguez links, about 2 tablespoons of caramelized onions, manchego cheese, and a few sprigs of cilantro. Spread harissa mayo on top half of baguettes and place on top of each sandwich
Transfer to a plate or tray and serve immediately with the cooked corn.
I also prepared guacamole with a bit of mayonnaise:
Ingredients: 1 ripe avocado, salt, pepper, 2 small cloves of garlic, chopped onion, 1 teaspoon of carraway seeds, 1 teaspoon of red chilli pepper powder (Hungarian), 2-3 spoon of lemon, cilantro, and 1 teaspoon garam masala, 4 spoon of yoghurt or mayonnaise
Methods: Using a fork, roughly mash the avocado. (Don’t overdo it! The guacamole should be a little chunky.) Sprinkle with salt and lime (or lemon) juice. The acid in the lime juice will help delay the avocados from turning brown. Add the chopped onion, cilantro, black pepper, and chilles. Chilli peppers vary individually in their hotness. So, start with a half of one chilli pepper and add to the guacamole to your desired degree of hotness. Be careful handling the peppers; (wash your hands thoroughly after handling and do not touch your eyes or the area near your eyes with your hands for several hours). Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole to prevent oxidation from the air reaching it. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Before to serve add yoghurt or mayo. Chilling tomatoes hurts their flavor, so if you want to add chopped tomato to your guacamole, add it just before serving.