"Matbucha, a traditional Moroccan dish, is so popular in Israel that it can be found right next to the hummus on grocery store shelves," says Giora Shimoni. But ever since his neighbor Carmit taught him how to make her spicy tomato and pepper-based matbucha, he "didn't want to settle for store-bought matbucha anymore." Luckily, her recipe, which he shares below, is both easy and versatile -- you can use it as an appetizer salad served with crackers or pita, as a sandwich spread, or as a condiment for fish, meat, or tofu dishes. It even makes an unconventional, yet delicious topping for a wide range of latke recipes.
Miri's Recipe Testing Notes and Tips:
You can tailor the heat in this recipe to your preference by tweaking the ingredients. Use bell peppers and sweet paprika for a milder flavor, dial up the heat to medium with hot paprika, or go all out on the spiciness by using a jalapeño along with hot paprika.
Shimoni points out that "the matbocha's spiciness will depend upon the size and strength of the peppers used." Since the heat level of individual peppers on a single plant can vary, it can be hart to predict how spicy they'll make a dish. But don't worry -- If your matboucha turns out spicier than you'd like, Shimoni suggests adding a few more cooked tomatoes.
Shimoni's recipe calls for either jalapeño or bell pepper, but you can certainly use both if you'd like!
To start a meal Israeli-style, serve matbucha with a selection of salads and dips, such as homemade hummus, the roasted eggplant and tahini dip Baba Ghanoush, a cool Cucumber and Tomato Salad, and freshly baked pita bread.
Updated by Miri Rotkovitz
- 6 medium ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 4-6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 small green jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced OR 2 medium green bell peppers, chopped
- 1/3 cup oil (canola or olive)
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Place the tomatoes, garlic, and peppers in a heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan. Set over medium heat and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring frequently with a spoon.
2. When the vegetables are nice and soft, add the oil, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for another 10 minutes.
4. When the mixture is well blended and most of the liquid has evaporated, the matbucha is ready.
Cool and store in a covered container in the refrigerator.