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I love Moroccan Food and I could eat it almost every day (although, my hips probably wouldn’t appreciate all that bread).
Moroccan food 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.
MORE MOROCCAN TRAVEL TIPS: GET MAPS, ITINERARIES AND MOROCCAN PHRASES
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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.
But the health aspect isn’t the only reason I love Moroccan food. The delicious combination of mouth-watering flavors is what makes it unique… Oh, the flavors.
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.
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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.
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3. 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.
Warning: This tea is borderline addictive.
4. Fresh seafood
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.
5. Vegetarian food
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.
Vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Morocco:
- Pure Passion Restaurant
- O Playa
- Earth Café
- Le Foundouk Restaurant
- Lalla Mira
La Petite Perle
Tip: Tagines and couscous are often cooked with a meat stock for the broth. If you can’t check this, only go for the dishes that you know are vegetarian for sure. Also, be aware that the oil used to fry may have fried meat in it as well.
6. Moroccan sweats and cakes
Moroccans have a serious sweet tooth and if the sugary, delicious cakes weren’t enough, they often come with a glass of hot, sweet mint tea. Here are some of the best desserts:
- Date truffles (my favorite!) – a delicious blend of dates, nuts and cocoa powder
- Sugared peanuts – buy them at street stalls
- B’stilla – a pigeon pie with almonds and eggs wrapped in paper-thin pastry leaves
- Briouats – deep-fried sweet puff pastry triangles stuffed with almond paste
- Gazelle horns – with almond paste, orange flower water and cinnamon
Calories don’t count on vacation, right?
7. Baba ganoush and hummus
Baba ganoush is cooked eggplant mixed with tahini, olive oil, garlic, cumin and black olives, and it’s a common side dish typically served with bread. So is humus, which I absolutely LOVE. The flavor-combination of mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic is awesome, especially when served with a pile of fresh pitas. Yum!!
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8. Moroccan mixed salad
Salads in Morocco are different to what you would expect and generally served with lots of bread. The vegetables are either raw or cooked, hot or cold, flavoured by herbs and spices, and served with a main course such as grills, tagine or couscous.
A popular salad is zaalouk, which is eggplant, tomato and garlic. The carrot salad and tk’touka made of peppers, tomatoes and spices are also common in Morocco.
9. Dates and figs
So, one big thing. If you go to Morocco, you’re going to see dates for really cheap, everywhere. I’m a total sucker for dates both fresh or in cooking. Just this weekend we made bacon-wrapped dates in the oven, and oh my gosh, talk about wow! They’re such a versatile food, and if you’re a date connoisseur like me, you’ll definitely get a kick out of trying these.
10. Shish kebab
The tasty Moroccan kebabs, also known as brochettes, are found on almost every street corner. The chicken, lamb, or beef kebabs are rubbed in salt and spices, then grilled over charcoal fire. Ooooh….that taste. You have to try the kebabs.
So, is Moroccan your kind of food?
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