Morocco’s desert, mountain ranges, ancient medinas, and craftwork have been luring visitors from afar for decades. But now, there’s a growing interest in Moroccan cuisine.
Moroccan cuisine is a mix of Middle Eastern, Berber (Moroccan indigenous people), Spanish, and Mediterranean cuisines. Most Moroccan dishes, whether sweet or savory, are made with at least one of these spices: cardamom, cumin, saffron, ground ginger, paprika, turmeric, hot peppers, black/white pepper, and cinnamon.
Here are 10 must try dishes in Morocco:
Msemmen is made from six simple ingredients – flour, semolina, yeast, sugar, salt, and water. It’s Moroccan pancakes, mostly made fresh at home or in stores, and served during breakfast and afternoon tea time. There are sweet and savory versions. And msemmen of different sizes and textures.
I like the sweet ones, eaten with honey or jam and butter. The most delicious msemmen are the thin and flaky ones when served warm.
The only food you’ll find in most restaurants throughout Morocco on Fridays is couscous, the national dish of Morocco.
When the men go to the mosque to Friday mid-day prayer, the women take hours to cook the traditional couscous at home. Their couscous is made from scratch, just like grandma would.
You’ll want to try the vegetarian, chicken or lamb couscous. Moroccan couscous is made with seven types of vegetables, namely pumpkin, carrots, parsnips, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and cabbage. And a small portion of meat, either chicken, lamb or beef.
Couscous is a North African staple, typically made of semolina and wheat flour. In rural areas of Morocco, couscous is made from cornmeal as well.
Morocco’s most famous soup, harira, is made of lentils, chickpeas, herbs, and tomatoes. You would want to pair harira with dates and chebakia, the traditional way to enjoy this starter dish. It’s the first dish Moroccans eat when they break their fast during Ramadan.
Chebakia is a sticky Moroccan flower-shaped sesame cookie. It’s fried and coated with honey. Typically served with harira soup during Ramadan, but now you can enjoy it year-round as a dessert or with harira.
5. Tajine or tagine
Tajine or tagine is Morocco’s most iconic dish named after the cookware it is cooked in. For centuries, the nomadic Berbers of Morocco have been using tagine for cooking. It’s a portable, round, and shallow ceramic dish with a conical lid, a symbol of Moroccan food and culture.
Tajine, the dish, is a slow-cooked stew made with a variety of spices, vegetables, dried fruits, and lamb or chicken. Chicken is the most common meat in Morocco. You’ll find chicken tagine with a variation of vegetables, chicken tagine with prunes and almonds, and chicken tagine with lemon and potatoes.
6. Berber omelet
Berber omelet is a typical dish in the villages and towns throughout the mountains, valleys, and deserts of Morocco. This dish originated from the Berbers (also known as Amazighs) and is cooked either in a tagine or a cast iron pot. You can have it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Berber omelet is made of tomatoes, onions, peppers, spices, and of course, eggs.
Pastilla or Bastilla is Moroccan sweet and savory pie. It’s a flaky and crusty pie filled with crushed almonds, chicken, eggs, and spices. The exterior of the pie is dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon. This sweet and salty combination is a bit odd but worth trying.
Sfenj is a Moroccan doughnut made with unsweetened and unleavened dough. It is crispy on the outside and chewy and fluffy on the inside.
Pairing hot sweet mint tea with sfenj is the perfect way to enhance the taste of the unsweetened fried dough. You also can eat it plain or soak it in honey.
9. Rfissa medhoussa
Rfissa medhoussa, also known as trid, is my favorite Moroccan dish. It’s chicken and lentil dish poured over a layer of cut-up msemmen (Moroccan pancake).
The round, flat, and coarse-textured khubz (Moroccan bread) is a staple food in Morocco. Khubz is present in all Moroccan meals. Used as sandwich bread for camel burger in Meknes, or cut up to accompany soup, tagine, and other dishes.
Every meal in Morocco is served with mint tea. It’s a drink of choice and often referred to as the Moroccan or Berber whiskey. The tea is brewed with sugar in a silver teapot and poured into narrow glasses filled with mint leaves.