MOROCCAN CUISINE

Traditional Moroccan Cuisine

Morocco, unlike most other African countries, produces all the food it needs to feed its people. Its many home-grown fruits and vegetables include oranges, melons, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, and potatoes. Five more native products that are especially important in Moroccan cooking are lemons, olives, figs, dates, and almonds. Located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, the country is rich in fish and seafood. Beef is not plentiful, so meals are usually built around lamb or poultry.

Flat, round Moroccan bread is eaten at every meal. The Moroccan national dish is the tajine, a lamb or poultry stew. Other common ingredients may include almonds, hard-boiled eggs, prunes, lemons, tomatoes, and other vegetables. The tajine, like other Moroccan dishes, is known for its distinctive flavoring, which comes from spices including saffron, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, and ground red pepper. The tajine’s name is taken from the distinctive earthenware dish with a cone-shaped top in which it is cooked and served. Another Moroccan dietary staple is couscous, made from fine grains of a wheat product called semolina. It is served many different ways, with vegetables, meat, or seafood.

Sweets play a very important role in the Moroccan diet. Every household has a supply of homemade sweet desserts made from almonds, honey, and other ingredients. Mint tea is served with every meal in Morocco. It is sweetened while it is still in the pot.

  • Traditional Moroccan cuisine includes:

Couscous
Made from semolina (coarsely ground hard wheat with the bran removed) and is a basic Berber food and is served with meat, vegetables, and possibly nuts and fruit. The traditional method of making couscous is a lengthy process and in some cases, restaurants may require it to be ordered in advance.

Tajines
Another series of old Berber dishes, slow cooked in a shallow earthenware pot of the same name having a conical lid, often made with lamb or chicken plus vegetables. Tajines are mildly spiced with saffron, cumin and coriander giving a distinctive flavor.

Pastilla
Chicken or Pigeon in a rich lemon sauce, layered between fine layers of pastry

Bread
An important part of any Moroccan meal, this will be a flat bread which is broken and use as a tool to help eating and to soak up gravy.

Harira (Soup)
This is a thick broth or soup containing lamb or chicken, lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes onions and herbs. Harira is traditionally eaten in the evening during Ramadan, to break the fast.