Moroccan Cuisine At Its Best
Moroccan cuisine is a delight to nearly all the senses. Couscous or skso, as it is called in Arabic, is Morocco’s national dish. Served with piping-hot vegetables and with mutton, chicken, or beef, it is any family’s special Friday meal. Eating with your hands is optional, although a common plate is shared. When it comes to dining in Morocco, one truth remains: You’ll never walk away hungry.
Other Moroccan dishes are of equal caliber. Tagines, or meat stews, are quite rich. Like couscous, they are prepared with any choice of meats, spices, and can include vegetables. Meals are served with round bread, olives, and mild red sauce. Eating with your hands is also acceptable with a tagine. The trick is to use a small piece of bread to grip the food. After a tagine, mint tea and cookies might be served, along with fruit.
If you are visiting Marrakech, the food stalls located in the Jma El Fna Square come to life at night. These alluring vendors sell everything from freshly prepared and barbequed meats to escargot. Marrakesh is also a wonderful location to visit area restaurants. Those located in Gueliz, or the newer part of the city, offer the best choices. Unless you are in a quality establishment, it is best to avoid the salads, unless they are of the cooked variety.
Certain restaurants in Morocco, especially those in bigger cities where tourism is common, serve a variety of alcoholic beverages. Moroccan wines are a splendid addition to any meal. Alcohol, however, is not served in smaller restaurants or in any location in the old medina, even in the popular medina of Fez.
Additionally, Moroccan food is also known for its spices. The most popular are cumin, paprika, saffron, and ginger. The most common herbs are parsley, coriander, oregano, and of course mint. Tagines and couscous will include vegetables, many of which are grown locally and are offered according to the season. Onions and potatoes are common in many dishes, as are tomatoes, and squash.
Moroccan cuisine is not defined solely by its national dishes. Other menu items include harira, a tomato-based soup, aadiss, lentil stew, and kafta, grilled ground beef. Other foods, such as seasoned brochettes and barbequed chicken, make excellent lunch choices.
In between meals, snacks and appetizers are available at nearly every corner. Moroccans enjoy their teatime and eat Rghaif, or Moroccan pancakes. In the afternoon, stalls begin preparing Bghreer, small spongy cakes, and harsha, dense cornbread that makes a filling cascrot or snack.
Overall, Moroccan cuisine is as diverse as any country’s. Travelers from far and wide are surprised by not only the choices, but also the excellent seasoning of Moroccan dishes. From a variety of couscous and tagines to grilled meats, fruits, and mint tea, Morocco is an exotic land, even for your taste buds.