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!