Discover Moroccan cuisine
Moroccan cuisine is an integral part of the pleasures of travelling to Morocco. It reveals itself subtly and blends harmoniously Berber, oriental and Mediterranean influences.
Couscous and tajines, traditional dishes, at the base of the kitchen are of Berber origin. The Arab conquerors having introduced the use of spices from the Orient and the combination of sweet and salty flavours.
Olives and citrus fruits are the Mediterranean heritage. Often spiced without being spicy, it is a generous kitchen full of flavours.
The cuisine in Morocco also differs according to the time of year and regions. Near the coasts, for example, fish are used in most culinary preparations such as tagine of monkfish, grilled sardines or dumplings.
In the far south, the dishes are made up of camel meat, couscous, camel milk and traditional tea; among nomads, goat’s milk or camel milk and dates play an important role.
Fresh fruits and vegetables in the year
Depending on the season, the following fruits and vegetables will be more tasty:
Spring: apricots, cherries, strawberries, peaches.
Summer: watermelons, artichokes, tomatoes.
Winter: oranges, mandarins, onions, beetroots, carrots, potatoes and other tubers.
All year round: almonds, walnuts, bananas, zucchini, pumpkins, beans, green beans, lentils, aubergines, peppers, lemons…
Fresh and delicious, the simple grated carrot salad with orange juice is very popular on hot summer days.
It competes with the famous Moroccan salad made with tomatoes, cucumbers, cube onions and coriander.
A thick soup, the harira is prepared with tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas, beans, eggs, flour and sometimes, small meat fats.
During the month of Ramadan, it is consumed every evening at the break of the fast.
The chorba is best known as the Algerian equivalent of the harira. However, it is also being prepared in certain regions of Morocco, notably in Fez…
Mainly consumed during the winter months, bissara is a soup of beans, or broken peas, drizzled with olive oil…
Sweet or savoury, as a starter or dessert, briouates are small stuffed puff pastries. Whether it’s spiced minced meat, cheese and herbs or vegetables, they are served hot as an appetizer.
In dessert on the other hand they will be served cold. Filled with almonds and honey, the dessert briouates are the perfect accompaniment to a delicious mint tea. They appear folded in a triangle.
It is a kind of semi-salted, semi-sweetly flaky pie filled with a minced pigeon with almonds and many spices that are added sparingly to make it taste like ginger, nutmeg, clove, saffron and cinnamon.
Golden in the oven it is sprinkled at the end with icing sugar.
The pastilla requires hours of preparation. This is why it is usually ordered in advance at the restaurant.
Of Berber origin couscous is the dish of all festivities and Friday in particular.
Recipes vary from family to family, but a successful couscous is the one whose semolina, made from durum wheat, is soft and flawlessly detached. An art that requires several hours of steam cooking, between three and seven.
In Morocco, couscous is accompanied by lamb meat, beef or chicken with a bouquet of vegetables where carrots, zucchini, chickpeas, onions, tomatoes, pumpkins and others give all the aroma.
In some restaurants couscous with 7 vegetables is not necessarily vegetarian. It should be made clear whether or not it contains meat juices. Finally, the couscous t’faya, prepared with raisins, ginger, honey and seffa, sprinkled with cinnamon, icing sugar and raisins are the versions for dessert.
Tajine is the daily basic dish. It is a delicious stew of stewed meat or fish cooked in stir-fry served according to recipes with vegetables, spiced with lemons, almonds or prunes.
The tagine is served in the glazed terracotta baking dish, with slightly raised edges and topped by a conical lid that gave it its name.
In Morocco, the most consumed meat, because the most affordable is of course chicken. Roasted, tajine or stuffed, it comes in many forms and there is something for all tastes.
The sheep is eaten as a skewer, roast, mashoui or tagine.
The mechoui, which is said to be of Turkish origin, is a whole sheep or lamb roasted slowly on burning embers on a brooch. Throughout the cooking process, the grating skin is constantly watered so that the meat is particularly melting and almost crystallized.
Speciality of Marrakech, tanjia is a stew made up of pieces of beef or lamb spiced with garlic, cumin, saffron, candied lemons, spices…
The set is placed in a jar, which gives its name to this dish, firmly closed with paper and tied. It is then placed in the oven of one of the hammams or one of the public ovens of Marrakech for a long cooking in the heart of the embers.
Nicknamed “the dish of singles”, the preparation of tanjia is traditionally the speciality of men.
Rich in spices and aromatic plants, Moroccan cuisine is distinguished by the use of these for sauces that will simmer for a long time to decorate salads, fish, roasted or grilled meats, vegetables and starchy foods…
Brief presentations of the main sauces used in Moroccan cuisine:
The chermoula (m’chermel)
Chermoula is a typical Maghreb sauce. In Morocco its ingredients can change from one region to another.
A blend of fresh coriander and parsley, cumin and paprika, garlic, lime juice and olive oil, this very easy marinade is the perfect accompaniment to lentils or carrots, fried or stuffed fish and grilled meats, including chicken.
Put in the refrigerator in a closed jar and covered with olive oil, the chermoula will keep for a week.
A sauce based on olive oil, candied lemon, ginger, saffron filaments and cumin. The m’qualli ideally serves chicken or lamb tagines.
Yellow and light, the sauce is scented with ginger, saffron filaments and turmeric. Accompanied by candied lemons it is particularly used to prepare the chickens m’hammer very appreciated during weddings or engagement.
It is also very light. Composed mainly of melted butter, saffron filaments, pepper and onions, it is perfect with giblets such as kidneys or starchy foods such as white beans. With chickpeas, it is surprising to accompany chickens in tagine or couscous.
Desserts and pastries
Rich in their Berber, Jewish and Arab origins, desserts play an important role in Moroccan cuisine.
While fruit is used extensively on a daily basis, it is during family or religious celebrations that pastries fill the tables generously.
The main components are almond paste, orange blossom, honey, dates, walnuts, rice or semolina.
This diversity will fill your table with delicious desserts. Cakes with semolina, gazelle horns, sello, makroud, sweet briouates or chbakia will come, in the company of a mint tea, to titillate pleasantly the palates…