What is Moroccan food like? In a word, delicious! It’s also complex, exotic, intriguing, enticing, addictive, beautiful - well, you get the idea. It’s amazing. The complexity of spices, the beauty of the presentation, the aromas that assault your sense of smell . . . it all works together to provide a wonderful food experience! I always thought of cinnamon as a “sweet” spice (think cinnamon rolls, apple pie, etc.) but I learned that it’s so much more. Who knew it paired so well with savory spices? Cinnamon is a spice staple in Moroccan cooking, along with cumin, turmeric, saffron and a host of others. Cilantro is a commonly used herb, as well, showing me that’s it’s not just for Mexican food. I learned so much from just experiencing the food of Morocco, that I can’t wait to return and take a cooking class!
Cooking mainly uses a tagine, which is a traditional Moroccan cooking pot. Made of clay or metal, tagines have a short bottom (think pie plate shape) and sport a cone shaped lid, which allows the steam to rise to the top, then fall back onto the food, keeping it extremely moist and flavorful. They can be used over an open fire, a grill, or stove top. When reading or speaking of tagines, there is the pot, but also the name of the food - Tagine of Beef, Tagine of Lamb, etc.
Usually tagines are cooked with meat and vegetables, and surprisingly the addition of lemons, olives, or dates combine to create a superb mix of deliciousness. Tagine of vegetables, eggs & cheese for breakfast? Yes, please!
To eat a tagine, you need bread, another staple of Moroccan food. This isn’t your grocery store mass produced white bread, but a fresh, delicious round of non-processed, homemade bread. You tear a chunk of the bread and use it as a means to scoop up a bite of food, which is then eaten together. Also great for taking advantage of the glorious juices. Who needs utensils, when you have fingers? This give a whole new meaning to “breaking bread together.”
A Moroccan barbeque is nothing like the common barbeque you think of in the U.S. It’s grilled skewers of chunks of chicken, lamb, or beef, grilled with spices which are so delicious, it keeps you eating just “one more bite!” Need a bit more seasoning for your particular taste? Salt & cumin replace the more commonly known salt & pepper usually found on the table. These barbeque stands can be found along the sides of the road, which draws you in with the enticing smoky, savory smells.
Dessert usually consists of fruit instead of sweets like are common in the U.S. I found this quite refreshing. The simplicity of the fruit after an explosion of spices is a great finish to your meal. This is not to say that Moroccan’s don’t have their sweets, because they do. The cookies are to die for! Typically a bit less sweet than what is found in the U.S., which I personally found more enjoyable. Honey is used in a lot of the sweets, as well as sesame seeds. Again, something I’m not sure why it surprised me, but it did. I think of sesame seeds being used in a savory dish, not a sweet. But it works, and it works wonderfully!
This is just a small glimpse into the food of Morocco, and I hope you’re intrigued to find out more. The best way to do that is to experience it for yourself. Book a tour today and check out all Morocco has to offer!