Caliente or Kalinti is also known as Karane, Karantita, or Calentita. Why there are so many variations of its name, I can’t say. What I can say though is that it’s a smooth and silky textured chickpea flan or type of savoury tart or quiche, usually enjoyed warm in a fresh baguette and topped with olive oil and spices. Originally Spanish, this culinary odyssey made its way from the Iberian Peninsula and became one of Morocco’s most popular foods. This savoury creation not only serves as a testament to the rich historical ties between Spain and Morocco but has also become an integral part of the country’s beloved street food culture.
How is Caliente Made?
Caliente typically features a base of chickpea flour, water, and various spices, creating a batter that is poured onto a hot griddle or oven tray. The result is a golden, crispy-edged chickpea flan that is topped with olive oil, cumin, paprika, and herbs, infusing the flan with a burst of Moroccan flavours. Enjoying a warm slice of this stuff from a food trolly guy in the streets of Morocco, you can expect to get a variety of accompaniments such as spicy harissa & olives. It can be served as it is on a plate to spoon out like a tart or as a sandwich filling, making it a go-to option for those seeking a quick, satisfying bite on the go.
The Origins of Spanish Caliente
To fully appreciate the story of Spanish Caliente, we must first understand its Spanish roots. Hailing from the Iberian Peninsula, this chickpea flour-based pie reflects the culinary traditions of Spain where chickpea flour has been a staple in Spanish cuisine for centuries. And it’s the ingenious use of it in creating a hearty, flavourful pancake that originally laid the foundation for what we now know as Spanish Caliente today.
Spanish Influence on Moroccan Cuisine
The history of Spain’s influence on Moroccan cuisine is a captivating narrative of cultural exchange and shared culinary legacies. The Moors, who ruled parts of Spain for several centuries, left an indelible mark on Spanish cuisine. The migration of culinary traditions between the two regions has resulted in a fascinating fusion of flavours, where dishes like paella, tortilla, and of course, Spanish Caliente find common ground.
Caliente in Moroccan & Algerian Street Food Culture
The transition of Spanish Caliente into Moroccan & Algerian cuisine can be traced to the bustling streets of North Africa’s vibrant cities. Over time, this savoury chickpea pie has adapted to local tastes and incorporated North African spices. Known as Kalinti in Moroccan Arabic, it has become a beloved street food item, winning the hearts and palates of locals and tourists alike.
So, the next time you find yourself wandering the lively streets of North Africa, don’t miss the opportunity to experience the rich history and flavours encapsulated in a warm, golden slice of Kalinti.
Moroccan Caliente Recipe – Kalinti
- 1 large baking round dish/pan traditionally Caliente is made in a round pan but you can use a rectangular oven tray or dish if you don't have one.
- 2 cups (210 grams) chickpea flour (not roasted chickpea flour or gram flour)
- 1-2 tsp baking powder optional
- 1 tsp salt to taste
- 1 tsp crushed or ground cumin powder
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper or freshly ground black pepper
- 2½ cups water
- ½ cup milk
- ⅓ cup oil (½ vegetable oil and ½ olive oil)
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- Prepare and gather all the above ingredients.
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
- Then combine the water, eggs, oil and milk in another bowl
- The Caliente batter will be thin, so set it aside to rest for 15 minutes and put the oven on to heat. Preheat your oven to 375 F/190 C.
- Generously oil a large round baking dish. (about 10- or 11-inch)
- Lightly whisk the batter again before pouring it into the prepared pan.
- Place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes or until well-browned and firm.
- Serve slices of Caliente into a fresh baguette or on a plate while still warm and top with cumin, olive oil and paprika. Harissa and olives are also offered on the side as condiments.
- You can pop the baked Caliente under the grill to form that favourable textured crispy top.
- If you have a large blender, you can blend all the ingredients together in a blender until smooth and leave to rest in the blender for 15 minutes. Then blend again for a minute before pouring out into the greased oven tray.