One of my favorite destinations I have ever been to is Morocco. Not only does it offer incredible culture, things to do, and amazing people, but it also has some truly unforgettable dishes. However, vegetarians beware–traditional dishes usually all contain meat cooked with vegetables. Like its mixture of architectural designs, the food in Morocco all harkens back to a past of berbers, Jewish people, Spanish, and more.
You can find tagine in almost all Moroccan restaurants, road side stalls, and home. Various types of meat is the the staple of the dish. The most common options include beef, lamb, and chicken. Tagine is also known as maraq and it is cooked in a pot covered with a conical-shaped lid. Along with a number of veggies, spices, and couscous, the meat is then cooked in the steam gathered because of the lid.
Couscous is considered as the national dish of Morocco. It is mostly cooked on Friday–the holy day of the Muslim people. It is made of grains or wheat and is mostly served with meat or vegetable stew and is a big part of what makes up the tagine dish. While most homes only serve it on special occasions, you can order it at almost all restaurants.
Zalouk is made by grinding grilled eggplant and cooking it with tomatoes. It is then garnished with spices and served with crusty bread soaked in garlic and olive oil. Yes, it is as heavenly as it sounds. It is mostly served as a saucy salad with grilled meat, tasting a little bit like traditional Mediterranean food.
Many Moroccan dishes also use a lot of seafood, though it is most commonly served in restaurants. The fish in chermoula is marinated in herbs and spices before being baked or grilled. The variety of flavors come from main ingredients like onions, coriander, chili pepper, or saffron. Most often, you will get a choice in how strong you would like it, and spices are often served alongside it so you can add more flavor if necessary.
This is a typical Moroccan dish made of lentils and served as a soup. You will find it as a favorite starter at restaurants all throughout Morocco. There is a wide variety of lentils grown in the country, so harira has a variations depending on which area you are visiting. It is also frequently made during Ramadan for breakfast, but locals also tend to make it for a light snack before a meal, as well.
Bastilla or pastilla
Bastilla (or pastilla depending on where you are) is a flaky pie with sweet and salty flavors originating from Andalusian cuisine. Traditional bastilla was once made with pigeon meat, but now it tends to be made with chicken. It is the perfect dish to try when you find yourself sick of tagine and looking for something a bit heartier.
Maakouda batata are like pancakes or fritters. They are deep fried, crispy, and spicy food that is made in almost every house in Morocco. It is commonly available as a street food, and you’ll find it touted in some of the major cities like Marrakech and Fes. Potatoes are mashed, mixed with spices, then fried and served with dip sauce.
Khobz is a type of bread that is made in wooden fired oven. You will find it served with a lot of meals, including harira and tagine. Moroccans also have many other types of breads (harcha, rghaif, and baghira) which are commonly served with a variety of dishes. They are easily available at bakeries and I recommend grabbing it when it made fresh and warm!
Steamed sheep head
While not recommended for animal lovers, this is a dish most often made during Eid-al Adha. The head is cleaned and the hairy layer of skin is removed. It is then steamed for several hours before being spiced and served at family events. However, even as a tourist you can buy a full or half head served with cumin, salt, and chili.
You will find fresh sardines almost everywhere in Morocco–t is the largest exporter of sardines in the world! Moroccans cook different types of sardines in a chermoula mixture and serve them with spicy chermoula sauce. Mostly they are deep fried, but you might find them grilled or baked, as well.
You will find different versions of mint tea everywhere in Morocco. It is available at the roadside tea stalls or restaurants, though you might wait to get your tea fix when you choose to go shopping. Don’t be surprised if you are offered a cup while looking for a new run or souvenirs! It contains lots of mint leaves and sugar (Moroccans like their tea super sweet).
This Moroccan kebab is very common as a street food and you can find it in restaurants and street food stalls around the country. Chicken, lamb, or beef is typically rubbed in salt and spices before it is smoked over the wood or a grill. You can get some while exploring the markets, though you should know that sanitation might be a little less of a priority in Morocco. Nevertheless, it’s a delicious snack and perfect for in between meals.
Stuffed camel spleen
Camel spleen is very soft and creamy, and the dish is known to have a texture like a sausage. Before being cooked, the spleen is filled with olives, spices, beef, or lamb and a little fat from the camel hump. It’s most commonly available as a sandwich, though you can order it from restaurants, as well.
Have you tried any of these while you were in Morocco?
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