If you are visiting Morocco, then you might have heard something about its delicious spicy food. You may not realize it yet, but Morocco’s cuisine is actually one of the best cuisines in the world. If you are coming to Morocco for the first time, then you are in for a treat. For those who have been to the country already, surely many were left wishing they would taste Morocco’s tasty food again. From steaming hot spicy Harira or Bissara bowls, through the myriad dishes of Tagine, all offering unique tastes, to the widely famous Couscous or the special Bastilla, Moroccan food has a lot to offer, so get ready for a special journey of unique flavors and overabundant spices. If you do not know any of these dishes, then this article is for you. Here is a list of the most popular Moroccan dishes that you must absolutely try. This list does not include all of the Moroccan dishes, as Moroccan cuisine is simply too rich with various dishes and combinations that it is difficult to delimit them in one article, but these dishes included here should give you a pretty good feel for what Moroccan cuisine can offer.
Couscous, or as the locals call it “seksu”, is originally from Morocco and is typically served with meat or vegetable stew. It is the national dish of Morocco. This special dish is usually prepared on Fridays, which are considered a Muslim holy day, but can also be served in occasions or in Ramadan. It is a communal dish, so families usually gather around and eat from one plate.
Couscous is a fine wheat pasta traditionally rolled by hand. It is steamed over a stew of meat and vegetables. Lamb, beef or chicken is stewed along with a variety of vegetables then arranged on a heap of tender, steamed couscous grains. Usually, the meat is covered by a pyramid of couscous, the vegetables are pressed into the sides and the sauce served separately.
Many attribute the origin of the name to the hissing sound as its steam moves through the holes of the “kesskass” (steamer).
Be sure not to miss this tasty and healthy dish when you come to Morocco. For vegetarians, there is a vegetarian version of Couscous with only legumes. Alternatively, you can try the “Tfaya” Couscous with caramelized onions and raisins, also a superb dish.
Tagine is a slow-cooked stew braised at low temperatures. the dish takes its name from the traditional clay or ceramic pot it is traditionally cooked in. It is arranged in conical fashion and left undisturbed to cook and results in tender meat with aromatic vegetables and sauce. The Tagine pot has a knob-like lid sitting on its top. This very famous dish is usually eaten directly from the cooking pot with the use of bread. It is found everywhere in Morocco at homes, cafes, restaurants, and roadside stops. What makes Tagine special is that there is no limit to what it can contain, resulting in various types of dishes that might contain such ingredients as lamb, chicken, pigeon, beef, root vegetables, meat balls with tomato sauce and eggs, olives, pears, raisins, prunes, dates, nuts, lemon, and others. Tagines rely on spices a lot to produce that unique Moroccan seasoning, these can include cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cumin, paprika, pepper, saffron, and many more. Many other countries have adopted the Tagine and made their own local version such as France, Italy, and others. The Moroccan Tagine is still the real deal if you are looking for the authentic Tagine taste.
For those of you that love the taste of sweet and salty flavors mixed together, then you will absolutely fall in love with this traditional Moroccan dish. This flaky savory pie is traditionally made with pigeon, but it is also served with chicken and seafood now. Chicken or fish are cooked with a range of spices such as ginger pepper, and cinnamon (cheese can be used with fish), and then they are layered within a crispy “warqa” (warqa in Moroccan means paper) pastry with an herb-laden omelet and fried almonds scented with orange flower water or grated cheese or icing sugar.
Unlike Couscous or Tagine, which are widely known outside Morocco, Rfissa is a very popular dish in Morocco, but one that may not be so popular overseas. This hidden gem may not be as popular as the other Moroccan dishes, but it is certainly worth your attention. Rarely found in restaurants or cafès, Rfissa is a special food served in occasions or typically around the time a woman has a baby, as the ingredients can help replenish what her body loses in childbirth and replace nutrients. The dish itself is a presentation of stewed chicken and lentils fragrantly seasoned with fenugreek, saffron and Ras el Hanout. Fenugreek is a distinctive ingredient that also is said to help with milk production. What turns such simple ingredients as chicken and lentils into an exquisite meal with the inclusion of spices and a slow cooking time – until everything is falling apart, delicious.
These are just some of the most known Moroccan foods you should try. Obviously, when you are in Morocco, you will be treated to many more savory dishes, soups, drinks, and pastry. Be sure to go for them and try as many as you can to make the most of your experience in the country. If you are on a strict diet though, be prepared to let go of it if you intend on trying these tasty foods. You won’t be able to resist anyway if you have a taste of what Moroccan cuisine has to offer!
Chermoula is a marinade of herbs and different spices used for baking and grilling of fish. It is used in Many Moroccan fish dishes. It can be used in the preparation of Chicken and other sea foods like shell fish and oysters. The best part of Chermoula is that it is quite easy to prepare and you can adjust the flavors of Onion, coriander, Chill pepper according to your taste. Some people prefer tomatoes and Potato’s in it.
A Moroccan lantern soup served before meal as a starter. You will be served will Harira in almost every good Restaurants and also in Moroccan homes. Many Moroccans also used Harira to break their Fasts in Ramadan. The harira is loved and used throughout the morocco and there are many types of Harira but the most classic one is prepared with tomatoes, Lentils and chickpeas. Just a pro tip from our side, if you want to enhance the taste of Harira than add white or brown rice with some red beans or you can also add noodles in it.
It is best served in Marrakech. Mechoui is actually a roasted lamb. The whole Lamb is roasted usually under a pit or on a custom stove as shown in above picture. It takes almost 9 to 10 hours to cook because you have to roast the lamb in low temperature to get the best results because Mechoui should be so soft that you can easily pull the whole bone from the lamb at once. People who can not dig whole in their backyard can also enjoy Mechoui but for that they have to cut the lamb and give the lamb meet some deep cuts. In home ovens you can roast a part of lamb like you can roast its leg or Shoulder but remember to cook it to a point where you can pull out the bones from meat easily. The main ingredient which is required to cook Mechoui apart from 1 whole Lamb is butter, olive oil, Crushed Saffron, turmeric, cumin, garlic and salt. Just remember to roast it well so you can enjoy the buttery flovour of Mechoui.
Khobz is often served with every meal and it is known as Moroccan white Bread. It is often baked in big ovens and the texture of the bread is tick and crispy. You can eat it with any meal like tagine, mechoui, Rfissa and even in breakfast you can eat it with olive oil and honey. Talking about its recipe than it is very simple you just need Sugar, Yeast, flour, and just half table spoon of vegetable oil, half tea spoon sugar, 1 spoon of salt and yeast mixture. Then mix the ingredients with 1 cup of hot water and make a dough ball. Remember do not put much water just pour that much of water that the ingredients mix well. After that make the dough ball and put it in your over and bake the both sides of the bread for 20 minutes until it becomes golden brown and then just enjoy the crispy bread. Apart from Khobz there are other famous Moroccan breads like the buttery bread known as harcha, flat bread famous as rghaif and lastly our favorite one is the spongy bread known as baghira bread.
You will find the soup of snails throughout the Morocco specially at the reigion of Atlas Mountains. In morocco this is also known as babbouche. The recipe of snail soup is also very simple just pick some snails from the backyard of from the market than put them in a bowl and dipped it in water and clean them thoroughly and again add water than add Salt Black Pepper, Garlic, Cumin, a piece of ginger to enhance the smell, Thyme, Lavender, Rosemary ,Cinnamon Stick, Pomegranate Skin, Pennyroyal, Mint, Lemon Verbena, Bay Leaf, Chili Pepper, Sage, Galangal, Star Anise, Cardamom and Clove. Boil them for 3 hours and then serve it. Use tooth-picks to bring out snails from their shells.
Moroccan Sardines are also one of the popular dishes of Morocco and the country is world largest exporter of Sardines. Sardines are actually small oily fish which is widely consumed throughout the world. To cook the spicy sardines in a Moroccan way we first have to cut the Sardines and remove the bones from the fish. Put parsley and garlic in the bowl and pour one table spoon of sunflower oil in it after that put some salt in the bowl after that some black pepper, cumin and ginger powder and Turmeric in it. Finally add paprika powder and Lemon juice in it and mix all the ingredients thoroughly. After that fill the sardine with the marinated solution you just prepared. Then dip the sardine in flour and fry it in a pan and your delicious Sardine is ready.
Tangia is named after the cooking Vessel which Moroccan use to preserve butter and olive oil. It is originated in Marrakech and made specially for Moroccan men and that is the reason its early name was “Bachelor’s stew”. You can now find it throughout the morocco from hotels to stalls. Also, do not mix it with famous Moroccan “Tagine” although both gets their names from the pots, they cooked in but they are very different from each other.
In other to enjoy tangia you have to be very patient because it takes 5 to 6 hours to cook the dish in order to soften the meat. To prepare it you just need a good cut meat from the butcher and some herbs and spices like lemons, garlic, cumin, ghee (Clarified butter), olive oil and Safran. These are the main items in tangia, remember you cannot put potatoes in tangia. Just put all the ingredients and put it in the pot and rap the top of the pot with Parchment paper. Then just bake it in the over slowly for 6 hours. In big hotels you can see that they cook 40-50 tangias at the same time. Finally, when ready do not forget to enjoy it with the bread or couscous. Just a pro tip from our side is that when you finish eating tangia do not forget to order the Moroccan mint tea because it will help you in digestion.