Moroccan cuisine is influenced by many different cultures, including Arabic, Spanish, indigenous North African, and the Mediterranean. Since these regions are close to Morocco, Moroccans have had several generations of trade with these cultures. If you’re looking to expand your cooking skills, what better way than to incorporate food from a multi-cultural location? In this blog, we will discuss various Moroccan flavorings, appetizers, meals, vegetarian options, desserts, and Moroccan drinks that combine to create the ultimate Moroccan dining experience.
Herbs and Spices
Have we caught your attention? If so, then it is a good idea to have a selection of ground spices and flavorings in your cupboard to prepare for Moroccan cuisine. Some companies sell ‘Moroccan Spice Mix’, which is convenient, but not as creative an option as deciding the quantities yourself. More traditional herbs involve the following: saffron, mint, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, pepper, coriander, fennel, cloves, and nutmeg. Choose any of them to create your custom, Moroccan spices. As for flavoring, lemon, pickle, Argan oil (which comes from a tree that only grows in Morocco), unrefined olive oil, and dried fruit are great options for boosting the taste of your meals.
Let’s get to the fun part: cooking! One of two tasty appetizers that we will be covering is baked chicken wings with Moroccan dip. In order to make this dish, simply bake the chicken in olive oil, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, salt, and pepper. The dip is made from a healthy blend of yogurt, lemon juice, mint, cilantro, honey, salt, and pepper. Another appetizer that is even healthier is a carrot dip. In a bowl of grated carrot, mix in olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic cloves, ground coriander seeds, ground cumin, ginger, chili powder, cinnamon, white vinegar, and fresh parsley for a small but powerful-tasting dish.
The best Moroccan food includes options for all kinds of people. While meat such as beef, goat, lamb, chicken, and seafood are commonly used in Moroccan cooking recipes, vegetarian options are also popular amongst Moroccans. We will discuss both options briefly. Lamb meatball Tagine is a great, family-friendly option. Simply make meatballs out of minced lamb, lemon zest, spices, and onions. Then, fry olive oil with onions, ginger, chili, and saffron. Add lemon juice, stock, tomato puree, and olives. Finally, add the meatballs. Once these are cooked, serve with couscous or fresh bread.
A relatively easy vegetarian dish is spiced Bulghar wheat with roasted peppers. To make, cover wheat with vegetable stock and heat until the wheat has absorbed the stock. Roast chopped onions, chickpeas, red peppers, and coriander, and mix these with the wheat when complete. You can also make a dressing with lemon zest, vinegar, and olive oil, with a standard Moroccan spice mix of cinnamon, turmeric, salt, pepper, garlic cloves, ground coriander seeds, ground cumin, ginger, and chili powder.
Moroccan desserts tend to be fruit-based, sometimes even using dried fruits such as dates and peaches. Here, you will find three traditional baked desserts. The first is the Kaab el Ghazal (named ‘Gazelle’s Horns’). This rich treat is a pastry stuffed with almond paste and topped with sugar. For a more creative dessert, the Halwa Chebakia might be a good option. Deep-fried dough, shaped in a pretzel, is soaked in honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Lastly, the Zucre Coco, also known as coconut fudge cake, is a more familiar treat that will be sure to delight all attending your Moroccan cuisine feast. The latter two desserts are typically associated with Ramadan, where Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, and so can only eat in the early morning or late evening.
While wine is grown in Morocco, this majority-Muslim country often opts for non-alcoholic Moroccan drinks with meals. Two common options are green tea with mint and orange juice. Depending on the time of year, you might prefer one over the other. Mint green tea is traditionally served from a teapot with a long curved spout so that it can be poured from a height, which adds bubbles to the tea. This drink can also be served with hard sugar lumps to sweeten the flavor and is great for the winter time. Since oranges are widely grown in Morocco, the fresh orange juice is another popular option for those looking for a drink on a hot day.
As you can see, Morocco is a country that offers unique cuisine options that will liven up one’s typical dinner routine. For those who are Muslim or simply do not partake in drinking alcoholic beverages or eating meat, Moroccan cuisine offers the perfect outlet for cooking something new that you and your family will love.