How is a traditional Moroccan dinner
25 delicious Moroccan dishes - typical Moroccan food
Do you travel to eat I do! Moroccan food is full of flavor, fresh ingredients and love. Whether you're planning a trip to Morocco or just looking for cooking inspiration, here is a list of 25 things to eat in Morocco!
From the most famous Moroccan dishes to lesser-known ones, you can find them all here. Tell me what your favorite dishes are!
Traditional Moroccan food
The most unique Moroccan dish is the tagine, and at the same time it is the most diverse. Tajine is both the name of the clay pot in which the food is cooked slowly, as well as the many delicious variations of the dish. My personal favorites are lemon and chicken tagine and kofta tagine (meatballs in tomato sauce). If you are in Morocco for a week, you can order tagine every day without eating the same thing twice. Tajines can be found in any Moroccan restaurant, and some places offer vegetarian options.
Traditionally, the tagine is eaten together, straight from the clay plate, with bread serving as a spoon. You crush the vegetables and soak up the sauce from the bottom of the plate and load up some food with a piece of bread. You only eat from the triangle in front of you, and the meat is eaten last. In most families, the mother divides the meat into portions so that everyone gets the same amount.
A standard-size tagine will hold at least 3-4 people, but the tourist restaurants are smaller in size. And since most tourists do not eat the tagine with bread like the locals, it is often just enough for one person.
On Fridays, try to get couscous, the traditional lunch after Friday prayers. Usually couscous is served with meat, but with luck you can find a place that offers vegetarian versions. I have eaten couscous in many different families, and none of them are the same. Every family, or even every woman, has their own way of preparing the sauce, meat and vegetables that accompany this dish.
As with most dishes in Morocco, everyone eats from the same plate. Most families eat couscous with spoons these days, which is much easier than eating it with your hands.
The “normal” Friday couscous is prepared with lots of vegetables, zucchini, aubergines, carrots and other roots, depending on the season. The meat varies from chicken or turkey to beef or goat.
In Morocco, couscous is steamed over the pot with the meat and vegetables. These cook slowly in the broth that will later be used as a sauce. You have to stir and mix the couscous with about oil every 15-20 minutes, and it takes about 2-3 hours total to finish.
There are some special couscous dishes that are mostly reserved for celebrations, my favorite being with chicken, carrots, chickpeas and raisins.
Local Moroccan specialties
A local dish from Marrakech is tanjia, pieces of meat that are cooked slowly and for a long time in a clay pot with lots of spices. The meat melts on the tongue and the spice mix is unique. It is traditionally eaten with bread. Apparently, in the past, this dish was cooked overnight in the fires of the hammam in Marrakech. I'm not sure that this is still the case today.
If you're looking for a good local, but not fancy, restaurant for Tanjia, head to rue Bani Marine near Jemaa al Fna in Marrakech.
Fresh fish by the sea
When you are near the ocean you should eat fish! Everything but sardines appears to be fished on very small boats, so it's relatively sustainable.
You can get the fish grilled or fried in most restaurants in the coastal towns, and the smaller the restaurant, the cheaper the price. I would recommend picking the fish yourself at the fish market and then finding a restaurant that can prepare it.
Here you can read about my favorite restaurant in Essaouira.
At the fish market in Essaouira there are also fresh oysters for about 5-10 DH per piece.
This is a local dish from the desert around Merzouga, the best restaurants can be found in Rissani and Khamlia. Basically, the Berber pizza is fresh flatbread filled with some meat, onions and vegetables. Some places also mix pieces of animal fat or boiled eggs into the filling.
Typical Moroccan breakfast
This can be found on many breakfast menus. Berber omelette is usually a base made from fried tomatoes with garlic and olive oil. It is served either with 2 fried eggs on top or as scrambled eggs and is eaten with bread. It is also often eaten with cream cheese or black olives.
Bissara is a soup made from fava beans and is usually eaten for breakfast. It is made with cumin and lots of olive oil and is a good choice if you prefer a hearty breakfast.
Msemen, also called Moroccan crepes, should be tried for breakfast or as an afternoon snack. I like them best with fig jam, but they are also great with honey. Some street stalls offer them as a hearty version filled with vegetables and eggs.
Amlou, the Moroccan Nutella, is a mixture of ground almonds, honey and argan oil. It's just the best with fresh, warm bread for breakfast. If you want to take some home with you, it's best to buy it from one of the cooperatives where the Berber women sell their handmade version. The shops where it is freshly mixed are best, as you can decide how sweet you want it to be.
Other typical Moroccan dishes
Harira is a typical Ramadan soup, but you can find it in small kitchens in the evenings all year round. You should try to find a place where it is homemade because it is one of the few things that comes in huge buckets in the store.
Harira is tomato-based and usually contains lentils, chickpeas, and sometimes rice or pasta. When hungry, add a boiled egg or two and some bread to make a full meal.
Bastilla / Pastilla
This is a dish I haven't tried yet, it's just not my thing. Bastilla is a pastry filled with either chicken or pigeon and flavored with cinnamon and powdered sugar. Lots of people like it, if this combo doesn't put you off, give it a try.
Moroccan street food and snacks
Brochette are basically kebabs, meat grilled on a skewer. You can get them with turkey, chicken, beef, kofta (minced meat) and sometimes with liver, heart or kidneys. The locals eat it with a hot sauce, harissa and bread. For tourists, they are usually served with french fries.
This may be seasonal, but at least in the winter months you will find small stalls selling snails in many cities. Just follow your nose.
You can pick the snails out of the broth with a toothpick and eat them. The locals also swear by it to drink the broth, which apparently is very healthy. I haven't tried yet ...
Briouat are mostly sold as street food in the larger cities. There are sweet and savory briouats. Either filled with chicken, vegetables and vermicelli pasta. Or the sweet version with almonds and honey. They are a great snack between meals because they give you a lot of energy.
Khubez is the standard bread that can be found on every corner in Morocco. There are also many other breads available that you should try as a snack.
If you're hungry but don't want to go to a restaurant, look for a small corner shop (hanout). Many of them offer sandwiches, half a khubez with egg, cream cheese and some kind of sausage for very little money.
If you have a gluten intolerance, harsha is a good alternative to bread. It is made from corn and is very tasty. You usually get it with cream cheese or chocolate spread. It is best when it is still warm.
Chebakia and other cookies
Be sure to try the cookies sold in patisseries across the country. The most famous are probably the "horns of the gazelle" and Chebakia, the traditional Ramadan biscuits. But there are many others and I can never make up my mind, so I always choose one of each variety.
This is another snack that street vendors make that I recommend. It reminds me of the German lard, and I'm always happy when I find one. You can get them with or without sugar, and they make you a lot fuller than you think.
Vegetarian Moroccan food
Watch out! Some restaurants think chicken is not meat and serve it in vegetarian tagines!
The typical Moroccan salad consists of a mixture of tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. Some restaurants add green peppers. And if you are lucky, it will be served with boiled eggs and / or tuna. The dressing usually only consists of olive oil and lemon juice.
Cooked salad (or salade variée)
It's a strange but tasty dish. Most restaurants serve a scoop of rice surrounded by cooked (potatoes, carrots, beetroot) and fresh vegetables (peppers, tomatoes). Sometimes it is garnished with tuna or boiled eggs.
Moroccans call this a salad, but in reality it is a vegetarian (side dish) dish. Eggplants, peppers and tomatoes, grilled and then mixed together with herbs and olive oil. If you eat it with a lot of bread, it is a complete meal, but it is also ideal as an accompaniment to a tagine or brochure.
Orange with cinnamon
This is probably the only traditional Moroccan dessert found in restaurants. In the Berber language, dessert is the word for fruit and that is what they eat after lunch or dinner. Depending on the season, there are apples, pomegranates or grapes. Also mandarins and oranges in winter. Adding cinnamon to orange slices is a fancy way to present this in restaurants.
If you like olives you will love Morocco! There are so many great olives everywhere, hot or unseasoned, green, black and pink. You can try and shop in the local souk. My favorites are the pink olives with lemon. The black olives taste best with a Berber omelette for breakfast.
Many countries claim to have the best dates and Morocco certainly has a claim to that throne. The best come from the Ouad Ziz and the Ouad Draa, and the season starts in late summer. But of course they can be found in stores all year round, and they go great with traditional mint tea!
What do you drink with your meal?
You can't avoid the traditional Moroccan mint tea in Morocco. It is served everywhere. Moroccan tea consists of green tea to which fresh mint and lots of sugar are added. It can be very strong and if you are sensitive you shouldn't drink it too late in the day.
Fresh orange juice
Most of the bars also have fresh orange juice. Although it has not been on the menu here in Merzouga for a few months (late summer 2020) because the prices for oranges have apparently risen sharply. I hope that will change when the new oranges hit the souks.
That sounds strange, but it's soooo good! It's less juice, more milkshake, and you should definitely try it. Most restaurants and cafes serve it fairly simply, just milk, avocado, and sugar. At home we replace the sugar with raisins or dates and add almonds or cashew nuts.
Unfortunately, pomegranate juice is only available seasonally, but it is so delicious. In the larger cities there are small carts that sell this delicacy. The bright red juice is sweet and a bit bitter at the same time and a great refreshment on warmer days.
Sugar cane juice
Sugar cane juice is probably one of the healthier options, despite the name. It's full of minerals and good for digestion. It's also very tasty and pretty cheap. You can often find small carts selling it, and there are small shops in some towns as well.
Moroccan Food Tour
If you want to do a food tour in Marrakech, check out my friend Amanda's website: https://marrakechfoodtours.com/ (tours in English).
They include some more hidden places in their tours and the customers are always happy! They were also on Netflix with Somebody feed Phil, in case you want a taste of the tour.
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