matesha masla – sweet tomato purée

The honey sweetness of this specialty from Marrakesh is surprising and enchanting. Serve it cold as an appetizer with bread, or hot to pour over meat or chicken, and sprinkle, if you like, with chopped toasted almonds or sesame seeds.

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 Tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ to ½ teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon clear honey

Heat the oil in a pan and add the tomatoes, a little salt, and the sugar.

Cook for 45 minutes, or until the liquid has gone and the purée is thick and jammy and almost caramelized. It is vital to stir often so that it doesn’t stick to the pan and burn.

Add the cinnamon, pepper, and honey and a little salt to taste, and stir well. Cook for a minute or so more.

Serves 6.

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From “Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon” by Claudia Roden