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Eat Your Way Through Morocco With These Traditional Dishes And Spices

By Kelsey Marie

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Morocco is a country located in North Africa with most of its population being Islam. The country is vibrant with its bustling markets, gorgeous architecture, and aromatic dishes.

Moroccan cuisine is heavily influenced by Arabic, French, Spanish, and Jewish cultures, resulting in many options — its no wonder Morocco is rated as one of the greatest places in the world to eat.

Enjoy your gastronomical experience in this North African country by exploring these traditional dishes:

Tagine

A visit to Morocco isn’t complete unless you try tagine. This dish consists of either chicken, beef, lamb, or veggies slow-cooked in a clay pot with a cone-shaped lid.

Tagine is a widely popular meal in Morocco and is eaten with couscous. You can find it at pretty much any restaurant in the country.

Couscous

Couscous is the national dish of Morocco and is commonly paired with meaty stews.

Zaalouk

It is common to have many salad options and dips with Moroccan meals. Zaalouk is a dip made from eggplant, paprika, garlic, cumin, and chili powder.

You can eat it on its own or in bread.

Harira

This soup is popular during Ramadan, the holy month when Muslims fast until sunset.

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Zuppa Harira con lime e dolci chebbakia . #harira#morrocansoup

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Harira is made with lentils, tomatoes, chickpeas, lamb, lemon juice and is served with chebakkiya, a sweet pretzel. It is often the meal eaten to break the religious fast at sunset.

Chicken Bastilla

Bastilla is a popular savory pie in Morocco. It is made from chicken cooked with ginger, saffron, cinnamon, and pepper which is then layered with an omelet and flaky pastry and topped with almonds.

The mix of flavors and textures is simply amazing.

Bissara

This hearty soup is a breakfast favorite with locals. Dried fava beans are the main ingredient and it is usually topped with olive oil and cumin.

Aubergine Fritters

Aubergine is the word used in Africa and Europe for eggplant. These fritters are a popular side dish made from sliced eggplant which is then dipped in a paprika batter and fried to perfection.

Babaganoush and Hummus

These two salads are extremely popular amongst locals.

Babaganous is made with smoked eggplant, tahini, olive oil, garlic, cumin, and is blended into a smooth consistency.

Hummus made from mashed chickpeas and blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt.

Both are amazing eaten with pita bread.

Dates And Figs

Dates are super cheap in Morocco and can be found in markets. Both dates and figs can be eaten on its own as a snack or used for cooking savory foods and desserts.

Brochettes

Brochettes are also called shish kebabs and are popular street food. Brochettes can be made from chicken, beef or lamb and are rubbed with spices then chargrilled.

Tangia

This dish is found in Marrakech and is cooked in an urn-like pot with meat, lemon, garlic, and spices.

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Moroccan-style braised chicken and lemon tangia served with cumin infused salt, rice, and soft pita bread for sopping up every last bite of this gorgeous aromatic, briny, and flavorful sauce. Some meals rise to the level of making you say this recipe alone made this book worth the purchase price. This is that recipe. Onions and garlic are cooked in butter until tender and then cumin, turmeric, ginger, and coriander are added in. Water is added to the pot along with boneless chicken thighs which cook until the chicken becomes absolutely tender and takes on the color and flavors of the sauce. In the last few minutes olives and lemon zest and juice are added in giving it a wonderful briny and bright flavor. My only regret in making this recipe was that I didn’t double it. This is the first recipe challenge from Milk Street: Tuesday Nights for my online #rainydaybitescookbookclub and several people joined in today so please check their photos too: @sypcooks @yanasdeli @goodlifevan @makingsbymyrna @cookinglikeimeanit @onelifetobake @feedingmy3sons @365from_the_garden @naomiscookbookchallenge @hardcovercook @honednotcloned @ginnygetsfloury @prairiegirlbaking @greedyinmontreal @hkydiva @megynnmakes @whatskarencooking @mstk82 @capeschanckestate . . . #cookbook #cookbookclub #eater #huffposttaste #food52 #f52grams #onmytable #foodstyling #foodphotography #foodwinewomen #buzzfeedfood #myopenkitchen #cookit #realsimple #forkyeah #mywilliamssonoma #myamazonkitchen #entertaining #shareyourtable #bhgfood #milkstreettuesdaynights #moroccanfood #tangia #moroccanchicken #winnerwinnerchickendinner

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Moroccan Salad

Simple, yet delicious, this salad is made with tomato, onion, pepper, cumin, coriander and olive oil and finely chopped.

Kefta

These Moroccan meatballs are made from either minced lamb or beef and seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, coriander, parsley and onion. They are commonly served with a sunny side up egg.

Makouda

Makouda is made with potato and egg and then deep-fried. Although it can be eaten alone, locals stuff them into sandwiches or eat with a salad.

Sardines

Seafood is very popular in Morocco, with the coastline running along the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

Sardines in Morocco are commonly served grilled.

Morocco is one of the largest producers of sardines in the world.

Mechoui

Meat lovers will be happy to know that a common dish served at Moroccan weddings is mechoui, a whole lamb cooked over coal.

The meat is cooked until tender and falling off the bone. Many say the meat is so tender that it melts in your mouth.

Moroccan Mint Tea

After eating your way through Morocco, wash it all down with Moroccan mint tea. The tea is made with lots of fresh mint leaves and cubes of sugar.

Spices Commonly Used

Spices are what make Moroccan cuisine unique. The dishes are filled with sweet, spicy, and earthy flavors; all the results of the spices used.

The essential Moroccan spices are:

  • Saffron
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric
  • Ground ginger
  • Cardamom
  • Paprika
  • Cinnamon
  • Hot chili peppers
  • White pepper

Ingredients Commonly Used

Paired with spices are staple ingredients used in Moroccan dishes.

These ingredients are always stocked in Moroccan households:

  • Meats (mostly chicken and lamb)
  • Couscous
  • Lemons
  • Onions
  • Dates and figs
  • Olives
  • Olive oil
  • Sesame seeds
  • Garlic
  • Almonds
  • Honey
  • Harissa (spicy, red paste)

If you’re eyeing Morocco as your next travel destination, you should become a TN Plus member to access our 7-day city guides for Marrakesh, Fez, and Essaouira. They’re full of recommendations for hotels, restaurants, events, and more. Plus as a member of TN Plus, you’ve got access to travel deals and discounts you can’t get anywhere else.

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Kelsey Marie

Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @kelseydashmarie

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