Moroccan cuisine is so diverse and vibrant in color and flavor. The flavor combinations, aromatic spices and exotic ingredients make even the most basic dishes amazing. Here are just a few of my favorites. Moroccan cuisine is very healthy, at least in general. Most dishes contain vegetables and rely on whole grains, freshly prepared food, spices and sweet fruit rather than refined sugar and deep-frying. They use lamb which is leaner than red meat, and couscous which is healthier than rice. Influenced over thousands of years by Berber, Jewish and Arab cultures, today’s Moroccan food is an exciting blend of spices and textures. The Berber influence is seen in the mobile way of cooking: grilled or slow cooking over hot coals, and breads and dips you can eat with your hands. Arabs introduced lamb, sweets and dates, while Jews brought their pickled lemons and the olives.
Morocco’s defining national dish is tagine and it’s one of my favorite Moroccan dishes. Tagine is a clay cooking pot with a conical top, and it’s also the dish that is cooked in said pot. The unique shape of the tagine and the slow-cooking method makes the ingredients (beef, lamb, chicken, veggies, etc.) tender and luscious. Definitely don’t leave Morocco without trying one.
Couscous is another common Moroccan dish. It’s typically served with meat or vegetables, and like tagine it comes in a number of varieties. Berbers usually put in raisins and serve with a bowl of buttermilk. Another way of serving is covering the meat by a pyramid of couscous with the vegetables pressed into the sides. Either way, expect to be served a massive portion you won’t come close to finishing.
MOROCCAN MINT TEA
Mhhhm, mint tea… Guys, I’m telling you: You can’t visit Morocco without trying the deliciously sweet mint tea – it’s practically the national drink. It’s a green tea base with lots of mint leaves and sugar. No one actually knows how much sugar Moroccans put in their tea, but it’s a lot.
Morocco’s position by the coast means there are lots of fresh fish. Sardines represent more than 62% of the Moroccan fish catch, but anchovies, prawns and mackerel are also common at the fish markets and on the menu cards. The best place to get fresh fish is by the coast, like in Agadir and Essaouira.
We’ve talked a lot about meat, but fear not vegetarians and vegans of the world. Morocco may be known for its (ah-mazing) slow-cooked meat and kebabs, but it’s also famous for its veggie dishes. Every meal is served with salad (cooked or fresh), and most dishes can be cooked without meat, like harira (Moroccan soup), vegetarian tagine and couscous with vegetables. Straight vegetarian dishes include lentils (known as addis) and loubia which is white kidney beans cooked in a tomato based sauce.