Morocco: Touring the Moroccan Foodscape

The quintessential ingredient to Moroccan cooking...the tajine!

The quintessential element of Moroccan cooking…the tajine!

Ask anyone who's never been what they know about Morocco, and it's likely that one of the first words out of their mouth will be “couscous.”  The seminal Moroccan dish is famous the world over, and to many, is synonymous with the country itself.  But Moroccan cuisine goes far beyond couscous, offering delectables both sweet and savory, meaty and vegetarian.  And this week, bloggers are tempting us with all of it!

The View from Fez digs into couscous in a post about Peace Corps volunteer Cynthia Berning (a blogger herself), who is working with Association ENNAHDA to create an eco-tourism experience around food.  The blogger writes:

Now the association has an eco-tourism project where groups of visitors are welcomed to Khoukhate to learn the secrets of a good Moroccan couscous, and at the same time experience traditional rural life. Visitors roll their own couscous from scratch with the local women, and then cook it and eat it for lunch.

(A note to tourists: Fez Food has teamed up with Association ENNAHDA to offer the experience in the city of Fez.)

Typical seven-vegetable couscous (photo by ukcider)

Typical seven-vegetable couscous (photo by ukcider*)

Moving to American blogger 760 Days in Morocco, we learn about fast food options in the city of Rabat.  The blogger shares her favorite quick-stop restaurant, writing:

Our favorite place for roasted chicken platters is Brador Pizza Restaurant because their rice is deliciously spiked with veggies, cloves and herbs.  They also serve roasted garlic and herb potatoes, plus fries and their tomato sauce is excellent.  Any leftovers from there are promptly eaten as a snack later in the evening.  One of the best parts of this meal is the price, usually 20-25 DH at any given place which is $2.60-3.25 as of today’s exchange rate- for all that food!

The blogger also shares a tempting soup recipe accompanied by photos of the finished product.

Photo from Mint Tea & Tagine

Photo from Mint Tea & Tagine

After couscous, tajine is probably the best-known dish (or group of dishes) that comes to mind.  Named for the conical pot it's cooked in, a tajine can take many forms; some are filled with meat and eggs, while others combine sweet and savory with chicken and prunes.  The aptly-named blog Mint Tea & Tagine shares a delectable-sounding recipe for Chicken and Fennel Tajine, complete with photographs (see left).

And what would any good cuisine be without dessert?  The blogger behind The Good Life in Morocco shares some photographs of delicate Moroccan pastries in this post.  And of course, what would any dessert be without an obligatory (best obligation ever!) cup of steaming hot mint teaChristine Benlafquih, the guide to Moroccan food, recently shared the darija vocabulary for tea:

Atay is the Moroccan Arabic word for tea. In Morocco, green tea is usually steeped in a berrad (Moroccan teapot) with lots of mint (na'na’) and then sweetened with generous amounts of sugar.

The resulting drink is Morocco's famous mint tea, or atay bi na'na. The Moroccan Mint Tea Recipe tells how to make it, and you can see more Moroccan tea recipes in the glossary listing for atay.

For those do-it-yourself types following along at home, Christine's page is an excellent place to find authentic Moroccan recipes.  And for an extra-special treat, you can follow Mediterranean cooking expert (and cookbook author) Paula Wolfert on Twitter.  Happy cooking!

*Creative Commons-licensed photo by ukcider.


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