Nothing beats handmade couscous!
When I went to Morocco years ago, I ate like a pig then suffered big time afterwards (Yuck! Stomach problems aren’t fun in the middle of the Sahara desert!) But I couldn’t resist the vibrant flavors, all those herbs and spices infused in Moroccan cuisine. Every street vendor smelled like heaven, hence I was willing to experiment anything and everything.
The trip began with staying at my friend’s house for a week, in a northern tiny village called: Kenitra, where I learned how to surf. Whenever I reflect upon that week in Kenitra, memories of waking up in the morning with many aunties wearing scarfs over their heads, hands busy rolling couscous around the living room table. Hours later, the entire house would be perfumed in deliciousness. A giant bowl of couscous would be placed in front of us and we devoured each bite, spoonful after spoonful.
Even if you won’t be staying at a friend’s home, even if you won’t encounter local aunties making couscous in the morning; you’ll want to daringly venture and indulge in Moroccan food.
Morocco’s geography provides the country with fresh seafood, so make sure to eat lots of those. Coated in beautiful herbs and spices, mutton and chicken taste like explosive flavors that you’ll want to dive into night after night. If you’re heading to Morocco sometime soon, here are 12 signature dishes you shouldn’t miss out on!
Couscous is originated from Morocco and the motherboard of Moroccan cuisine. It’s basically a dish of granules of durum wheat which is cooked by steaming. Traditionally, it’s served with meat or vegetable stew spooned over it. If you’re staying with a local family, don’t be surprised if you wake up in the morning with lots of Moroccan women making couscous by hand, making the whole house smell incredibly delicious.
2. Ghoulal (snail soup)
Outside of America, pretty much every other country has their own version of snail-something. Soups, grilled, buttered…Snails in cuisine can be considered as a common dish or a delicacy. In Morocco, snail soups are the most popular, and you’ll see street vendors selling them. Pick the meat out with a toothpick, and the broth is lovely!
3. Stuffed camel spleen
Stuffed camel spleen is clearly for those who are experimental eaters. They look like sausages and are typically stuffed with beef, lamb or camel meat. The taste is creamy, soft and gamey. If there’s one thing out of the ordinary to try, this might be it.
4. Spicy sardines
Yummy sardines means that Morocco is the world’s largest exporter of these little guys. So you must have them in sandwiches, fried, grilled or barbecued. The chermoula sauce make them spicy and VERY tasty.
Chermoula is used to coat fish or seafood for grilling or baking. The gorgeous flavor comes from the fusion of: herbs, oil, lemon juice, pickled lemons, garlic, cumin, and salt. Sometimes, you’ll also taste: onion, coriander, ground chili peppers, black pepper, and saffron.
Makouda is a street food staple, they’re incredible deep-fried potato balls dipped in spicy sauce. If you love anything fried and don’t mind the carbs, this is your dish!
Cooked via tagine clay pots, tagine is the basis of Moroccan cuisine. Beef, lamb, chicken, vegetables all slow cooked with potatoes and vegetables. Lots of spices are also added to the pot, which is placed over coals. This dish will be all over Morocco and you will want it during every meal.
Harira is basically Morocco’s version of lentil soup. Ingredients include: tomatoes, lentil, chickpeas, onions, rice and spices. You’ll see the soup being served with hard-boiled eggs sprinkled with salt and cumin, dates and other types of dried fruits.
Bissara is a thick, rich soup made from dried broad beans. You’ll most likely be eating this during breakfast, and it’ll come with drizzles of fresh olive oil on top with splashes of cumin and bread fresh from the oven. So yum and budgety!
Zaalouk is a Moroccan eggplant spread made with paprika, cumin garlic and a little chili powder.
B’Stila is Morocco’s version of chicken pie. You’ll see layers of a paper-thin pastry with meat inside. The pastry is then decorated with almonds, saffron, cinnamon and topped with sprinkled powdered sugar.
12. Moroccan mint tea
Moroccan mint tea is aromatic, sweet and completely addictive. Usually served by male of the family, the tea is also the center of a social gathering with a ceremony to pouring the tea. The tea is made from strong green tea, lots of mint leaves and sugar. Poured by holding the pot high above the glass.