One of the most delicious cuisines of the world, Moroccan food bursts with flavors, aromas, and spices paired in the most unexpected ways. Moroccan food is influenced by Arabic, Andalusian, and French cuisine which results in an incredible variety of exotic ingredients and combinations.
Staple Moroccan Foods
Morocco produces a great number of Mediterranean and tropical fruits & veggies. When it comes to meat, due to the predominant Muslim religion, pork is restricted (as is alcohol) but all other meats are used – beef, chicken, goat, mutton, and lamb, as well as seafood. Some traditional recipes also call for pigeon.
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Like all Mediterranean cuisines, Moroccan staples are wheat, which is used for making couscous and bread, olive oil, and grapes, which are eaten fresh, or in their dry form added to desserts and even to savory dishes.
The unique flavor combinations are made with the use of argan oil, olive oil, lemon pickle, and dried fruits, especially plums and raisins, as well as a wide array of fresh herbs and spices.
Spices are an indispensable feature of Moroccan food. Among those extensively used are saffron, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, turmeric, ginger, cumin, pepper, paprika, sesame seeds, fennel, anise, oregano, cayenne pepper, etc. Furthermore, there is a wide selection of herbs such as mint, parsley, coriander, peppermint, marjoram, and sage.
A typical lunch in Marocco begins with salads, followed by a tagine. For special occasions, meat-based dishes are chosen, with lamb or chicken being favorite meat types, combined with vegetables and couscous. People in Morocco either eat with their hands or use standard utensils, depending on the dish.
Visiting this vibrant country is a great idea, but you don’t have to take a trip in order to enjoy amazing Moroccan foods. The recipes we’ve selected will allow you to indulge in the flavors of Morocco in the comfort of your own home!
Probably the most popular Moroccan food, couscous is prepared regularly throughout the country. Recently it has also conquered the States and Europe where it is often used as a rice substitute. Couscous is quite neutral in taste which allows you to combine it with virtually anything. Moroccan people usually cook it with seven vegetables and/or meat, usually lamb, chicken, or beef.
In our recipe, colorful bell peppers do double-duty in this fun dish—they are “baking cups” for a savory couscous blend as well as a sweet treat themselves.
Tagine is the clay pot with a conical lid that gives the name to a number of dishes. This Moroccan food is so popular, it is literally prepared everywhere, from roadside cafes to elegant restaurants.
When it comes to tagines, combinations are endless, but the most famous representative is probably the slow-cooked stew. When making this Moroccan food, the ingredients are arranged in a conical shape and left to cook until tender. When done, the tagine is served with Moroccan bread called khobz which is used for scooping directly from the pot.
Although it is not the easiest dish to make, Harira is the most beloved Moroccan soup. In fact, it is the first meal people in Morocco have to end the daily fasting during the month of Ramadan. This Moroccan food appears in a great number of variations, but the most common one is the tomato-based version which also includes beef or lamb stock, chickpeas and lentils. Noodles or rice can also be added. Serve it with chopped coriander and a drizzle of lemon juice.
Pastilla is a traditional Spanish Andalusian dish popularized in Marocco by Andalusian people who migrated to Fez. Nowadays, pastilla is said to be uniquely Moroccan. It is known for its intricate ingredient combinations and rich taste. The name of this Moroccan food comes from the Spanish word meaning ‘small pastry’. Pastilla is a pie traditionally made of squab (pigeons), whereas modern versions opt for chicken and sometimes fish or offal. It is often served as an entrée.
Chermoula is a traditional Moroccan marinade made of a mixture of herbs, lemon juice, oil, garlic, pickled lemons, cumin, and salt. Some versions also include onions, ground chili peppers, fresh coriander, or saffron. Chermoula is usually used to flavor seafood and fish, but it can also be used on other meats, as well as vegetables.
Shakshouka is a staple food in Arab and Israeli cuisines served in a tajine or a cast iron pan, with bread on the side. Its name translates as “mixture” and that is just what it is – a combination of eggs poached in a tomato sauce, onions, and chili peppers. The most commonly used spice is cumin.
Chicken is one of the favorite meat choices in Morocco and it is found in a large variety of dishes. Our recipe, which is perfect for special occasion and family gatherings, reflects the contrasts of Moroccan cuisine. The chicken is baked with couscous, raisins, green olives, and spices. You can vary the amount of ground cumin to taste but don’t omit it; it gives this Moroccan food its authentic nutty taste.
The waters along Morocco’s coastline abound in sardines, which means that these small, delicious, and healthy fish are amply used in Moroccan cousine. For a quick fix, you can grill or bake them. However, the most popular version is stuffed and fried fillets, served with charmoula or pickled lemons. We offer a healthy, paleo salad that will satisfy your huger without compromising your well-being!
Moroccan style baklava is usually made with almonds, the nut ingenious to the country. They are used to prepare a nutty filling that is placed between layers of very thin pastry. The sweet-and-sticky syrup is flavored with orange flower water. Instead of the syrup used in the recipe above, try this one. Boil 1 cup granulated sugar in a cup of water until the sugar is melted. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and ½ cup honey. Simmer for 20 minutes, then spoon over the baked baklava. Let it soak in, about 2 hours.
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Moroccan mint tea (also known as Moorish tea) is green tea mixed with spearmint leaves, sugar, and boiled water. It is traditional to a great part of the Maghreb region (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, and Mauritania). Mint tea is an integral part of the social life in Morocco and is consumed throughout the day. Traditionally, when a guest arrives, the head male of the house prepares and serves it in a ceremonial form. Nowadays, as a result of cuisine globalization, mint tea appears in a number of refreshing beverages and cocktails like our sweet mint tea juleps.
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