Moroccan cuisine is influenced by Morocco's interactions and exchanges with other cultures and nations over the centuries. Moroccan cuisine is typically a mix of Mediterranean, Berber and Andalusian cuisine. The cooks in the royal kitchens of Fes, Meknes, Marrakech, Rabat and Tetouan created the basis for what is known as Moroccan cuisine today.
Morocco produces a large range of Mediterranean fruits and vegetables and even some tropical ones. Common meats include beef, mutton and lamb, chicken, camel, and seafood, which serve as a base for the cuisine. Characteristic flavorings include lemon pickle, cold-pressed, unrefined olive oil and dried fruits.
Spices are used extensively in Moroccan food. Although spices have been imported to Morocco for thousands of years, many ingredients — like saffron from Tiliouine, mint and olives from Meknes, and oranges and lemons from Fez — are home-grown.
Common spices include:
- qarfa (cinnamon)
- kamoun (cumin)
- kharqoum (turmeric)
- skinjbir (ginger)
- libzar (pepper)
- tahmira/felfla hemra (paprika)
- sesame seeds
- qesbour (coriander)
- zaafran beldi (saffron)
- massia (mace)
- qronfel (cloves)
- basbas (fennel)
- Nnafaâ (anise)
- elgouza (nutmeg)
- naanaa (mint)
- maadnous (parsley)
- quasbour (cilantro)
- fliyo (peppermint)
- merdedouch (majoram)
- kerouiya (carraway)
- ellouiza (verbena)
A typical lunch meal begins with a series of hot and cold salads, followed by a tagine or Dwaz. Bread is eaten with every meal. Often, for a formal meal, a lamb or chicken dish is next, followed by couscous topped with meat and vegetables. A cup of sweet mint tea usually ends the meal. Moroccans either eat with fork, knife and spoon or with their hands using bread as a utensil depending on the dish served. The consumption of pork and alcohol is not common due to religious restrictions.
Structure of meals
Moroccan CouscousThe main Moroccan dish most people are familiar with is couscous, the old national delicacy. Beef is the most commonly eaten red meat in Morocco, usually eaten in a Tagine with a wide selection of vegetables. Chicken is also very commonly used in Tagines, or roasted. One of the most appreciated local dishes is the Tagine of Chicken, fries and olives. Lamb is also heavily consumed, and since Moroccan sheep breeds store most of their fat in their tails, Moroccan lamb does not have the pungent flavour that Western lamb and mutton have.
Since Morocco lies on two coasts the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Moroccan cuisine is ample of seafood dishes. European pilchard is widely and heavily consumed due to its abundance and quality, hence Morocco is the first producer of this kind of species globally.
Among the most famous Moroccan dishes are Couscous, Pastilla (also spelled Basteeya or Bestilla), Tajine, Tanjia and Harira, a typical heavy soup, eaten during winter to warm up and is usually served for dinner, it is typical eaten with plain bread or with dates, the later is especially used during the month of Ramadan.
A big part of the daily meal is bread. Bread in Morocco is principally from durum wheat semolina known as khobz. Bakeries are very common throughout Morocco and fresh bread is a staple in every city, town and village. The most common is whole grain coarse ground or white flour bread or Baguette. There are also a number of flat breads and pulled unleavened pan-fried breads. Morocco is also the world’s first consumer of bread. In addition, there are dried salted meats and salted preserved meats such as kliia/khlia and "g'did" which are used to flavor tagines or used in "el ghraif" a folded savory Moroccan pancake".
Moroccan saladSalads include both raw and cooked vegies, served either hot or cold. Cold salads include zaalouk, an aubergine and tomato mixture, and taktouka (a mixture of tomatoes, green peppers, garlic and spices) characteristic of the cities of Taza and Fes, in the Atlas.
An array of Moroccan pastriesUsually, seasonal fruits rather than cooked desserts are served at the close of a meal. A common dessert is kaab el ghzal ("gazelle's horns"), a pastry stuffed with almond paste and topped with sugar. Another is "Halwa chebakia", pretzel-shaped dough deep-fried, soaked in honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Halwa Shebakia are cookies eaten during the month of Ramadan. Coconut fudge cakes, 'Zucre Coco', are popular also.
Snacks and fast food
A food stall at Djemaa el Fna.
Fscooking "Food In Morocco". Food In Every Country "Moroccan Couscous Recipe". Maroccan Kitchen Recipes Zeldes, Leah A. (Nov 11, 2009). "Eat this! Zaalouk, a cooked salad from Morocco". Dining Chicago. Chicago's Restaurant & Entertainment Guide, Inc. Retrieved Nov 12, 2009. Paula Wolfert's books