Moroccan food is an exciting and exotic blend of spices and rich textures. As in the culture, tradition, and architecture, the food of this nation is also vastly influenced by various civilizations. The food of Morocco is a mix of Arabic, Berber, Mediterranean, as well as Andalusian and there is something for everyone’s taste buds. While most of us have tasted couscous, there is much more to the delicacies of Morocco.
Tagine, a cooking vessel that is cone-shaped (depicted in the featured photograph above), is used to cook chicken, lamb, beef, fish, or vegetable stew with lots of herbs, ginger, and other spices slowly, to retain their fragrance and to get a luscious and tender texture. This is one of the most popular dishes of Morocco which has not gained as much international popularity as it deserves. Tagine is served in cafes as well as in four- and five-star restaurants, and is enjoyed by natives of Morocco and tourists alike. While some have touted the tagines in Marrakesh at restaurants, such as Les Trois Saveurs and Latitude 31, the real gem, in terms of the surrounding destination and their tagines, is Casa Aladin in Chefchaouen, a city in Northwest Morocco, nestled in the Rif Mountains and famous for its beautiful buildings in various shades of blue.
Moroccan Mint Green Tea
Made with green tea, spearmint leaves, and sugar, this tea is usually served after a meal and sipped, instead of binging on a dessert. Its very minty, sweet, refreshing, and cleansing. Making this tea is considered a form of art. Throughout Morocco, in addition to being daily served in restaurants and homes, its served at many pharmacies, small shops, and in Hammam spa and tea rooms. The fragrant, warm, deliciously sweet green tea with mint is borderline addictive.
As if that isn’t compelling enough, the healthy nature of the drink should convince you to give it a try. Mint, of course, is an herb that has a cooling effect on the body, relieves heartburn, soothes an upset tummy, and increases the immunity of the body. Green tea has myriad of well-known health benefits, supported by science. A potent blend of both will surely do you good. While you’re in Morocco, you’re likely to be offered this tea. Don’t say “no” as it’s considered impolite to do so.
Enjoyed mostly during Ramadan after breaking one’s fast, Harira (deriving from “Harir” meaning silky in Arabic) is a traditional tomato, lentil, and chickpea soup of Morocco, enriched with herbs (such as coriander, celery, and parsley) and spices (such as pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and saffron). Its main ingredient is either lamb or chicken, but one can leave the meat out for a vegetarian delight. While its usually light and eaten as a snack or appetizer, Harira can be made very thick and rich, so as to be filling and counted as a whole meal. You can pretty much get Harira in any restaurant or stall in Morocco, but there’s a prodigious stall vendor, Fatima, in the district of Dar Habiba in Marrakech. With her daughter, they sell over 150 bowls of Harira every day. It’s that good.