A Guide to Moroccan Cuisine

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Moroccan Tagine

Morocco. Vibrant, exotic and diverse. Its colourful culture celebrated through its rich culinary traditions where captivating combinations of subtle spices and wholesome fresh ingredients create the aromatic flavours that Moroccan cuisine is renowned for. So, immerse yourself in a culinary journey as we uncover some of Morocco’s favourite traditional dishes.

 Tajine – This is probably one of the most famous Moroccan dishes and is a classic Berber dish prepared in a funnel shaped clay pot, called a tagine. This is s long, slow cooked dish created by layering fried onions, spices such as turmeric, ginger, and cumin, and some kind of meat like fish, chicken, or lamb – vegetable options are also often available.

Moroccan tagine

Couscous – A common Moroccan staple food and a cornerstone of authentic Berber cuisine, which is often served with an assortment of vegetables or meats. It is a fine grain that is made from durum wheat semolina and is especially popular in Friday’s when it is often served after prayers.

Harira – This simple yet delicious soup is traditionally made from tomatoes, lentils, and chickpeas is commonly enjoyed as a light dinner or snack, especially during Ramadan. 

Bissara – A thick and nutritious soup made from fava beans that have been slow cooked with onions, coriander, turmeric, cumin, paprika and several other spices. It is often served drizzled with olive oil and lemon and is often eaten for breakfast or served as a dip.

Zaalouk – This cooked Moroccan salad is made from tomatoes, eggplant, garlic, and an assortment of spices and is often served with bread for dipping. 

Zaalook - pic credit Maggie McCain Flickr

Bastilla – Also know as pastilla, this sweet and savoury meat pie created by using shredded slow cooked meat and spices that is layered on the outside with thin and crispy pastry. The sweetness comes from the dusting of fine sugar, cinnamon, and toasted almonds. Delicious!

Sheep’s head – Whilst not for the faint-hearted, this local delicacy, boiled with spices and chickpeas and served with bread to soak up the sauces, will certainly earn you a travel badge of honour! 

Makouda – These deep-fried potato balls, made from mashed potato, flour, egg with garlic, hot pepper, and cheese sometimes being added, and then fried in oil. This delicious dish, often served with spicy harissa sauce, is a common find in Moroccan city markets.

Msemen – This delicious Moroccan flatbread is made from kneaded layered dough that is fried up on the grill into a pancake like bread. They come plain to be eaten as is or served with butter and jam, or filled with onions, cheese and more.

Sfinge – It is essentially a doughnut. But this sugar dusted, golden coloured sweet treat will surely beat any doughnut you’ve tasted elsewhere.

Briouat – This patisserie-styled treat, which comes in both sweet (with almond and honey) and savoury (with chicken or lamb kofta) forms is a highlight in Moroccan cuisine. Some in the triangle shape of a samosa, some in rolls and others at the discretion of the cook. Either way, these are a delicious treat – along with Moroccan styled Baklava, made with local almonds.

Mint Tea – A much-loved drink, nicknamed ‘Moroccan Whisky’, is served with breakfast, dinner, and any time in between from devoted tea shops, to restaurants, roadside stops to local homes. Brewed with fresh mint, hot water and lashing of sugar, and mixed several times from kettle to cup and back again to make sure that the flavours are well combined.

Fresh Juice – This doesn’t need any explanation but suffice it to say that no walk through the streets of a Medina would be complete without freshly squeezed juice from plump, locally grown oranges.

Images – Jamie McCaffrey Flickr, Maggie McCain Flickr, Popo le Chien, Wikimedia

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