Moroccan Food is considered to be one of the most popular foods of the world as it offers an interesting variety based on the ethnicity of the regions. Moroccan Cuisine is a collection of various cooking traditions of Africa and Europe that have evolved over hundreds of years and it is believed that the people get the best of both worlds - ancient Sahara and the modern European. The most widely eaten meat is chicken while beef and lamb are also popular. Green tea with mint is considered the most popular drink and can be served as and when required irrespective of the time of the day.
Classification of Moroccan Cuisine
Moroccan Food can be broadly classified as per the regional influences on it into the following categories. However, the categories overlap and most of them are influenced by each other by a great deal.
• Berber: This is a traditional cuisine introduced by the Berbers who are North Africa’s original inhabitants.
• Mediterranean: This cuisine is influenced by many cultures. Lots of ingredients are used including, sheep, goat and seafood.
• Spanish: This is a cuisine, which is known for the use of a wide variety of fish as they are easily available.
• Portuguese: Very similar to Mediterranean cuisine, Portuguese off is known for the use of wide variety of spices along with fish and seafood.
• Middle Eastern: This is a popular Asian cuisine that uses a lot of olive oil, honey, pita, sesame, mint and parsley.
• Corsican: This cuisine follows an earthy style of cooking famous for using cured meats, fruits, vegetables, and cheeses.
History of Moroccan Cuisine
Moroccan Food is considered to be one of the most diversified cuisines due to it’s interaction with neighboring countries and their cultures. Mainly influenced by the native Berber cuisine, the Arabic Andalusian cuisine, the Turkish cuisine, and the Middle Eastern cuisines, Moroccan cuisine is renowned for using a wide variety of spices. Normally seasonal fruits are served as desserts as sweets are not very popular after a grand Moroccan meal.
Ingredients Commonly Used by Moroccan Recipes
The main ingredients used in Moroccan food are a variety of spices, chicken, beef, lamb, tomato, eggplant, seasonal fruits and tea. The cuisine is known for its use of a wide variety of spices like cinnamon, cumin, ginger, turmeric, pepper, paprika, coriander and mint.
Globally Popular Moroccan Recipes
Moroccan traditional as well as modern dishes are liked throughout the world. Some of the most popular dishes include:
- Couscous – Rounded semolina wheat granules which are usually steamed in large quantities to be consumed as a main course dish along with a stewed meat or vegetable accompaniment dish. This versatile dish may also be served as an accompaniment dish and it may be eaten, hot or cold, as it is or with different flavorings.
- Green tea with mint – this is a beverage containing caffeine. It is served at mealtime to guests by the head of the family as a mark of respect.
- Beef curry – This is a baked main course beef dish made with beef with seasoned with salt, paprika and curry powder.
- Pastilla- Also known as bastilla, or bstilla, this is a Moroccan meat pie made with squab flesh.
- Chicken soup – It is prepared on a Dutch oven. Chicken is sautéed in oil, followed by onions, and spicy seasonings and then it is allowed to boil for sometime. Couscous, garbanzo beans and zucchini may also be found in this soup.
- Lemon Pickle – lemons preserved in a brine solution which may also be seasoned with spices and served as a condiment.
Traditional/ Special Moroccan Recipes
Traditional Moroccan Food includes Chicken, beef and lamb as main course dishes. Apart from green tea with mint, even seasonal fruits and hot and cold salads constitute the traditional menu of the Moroccan cuisine.
• Tajine- This refers to a class of meat or vegetable dishes braised in a tagine pot. The meat or vegetables are simmered at low temperatures after browning with spices and other ingredients. Popular Moroccan recipes belonging to the tagine category are mqualli and mshermel which are preparations of chicken in combination with citrus fruits and olives. Other popular dishes include mrouzia ( a dish made of lamb meat) and kefta( meatballs dish).
• Harira – It is a wholesome soup prepared during special occasions like Ramadan and wedding meals. It is made of wheat flour, vegetables, chickpeas, lentils, rice, onions, tomatoes, egg with some olive oil. The ingredients of the basic recipe may differ based on the occasion and also on regional cuisine. It is a complete meal by itself and is served with hard-bolied eggs, dry fruits, honey and bread or crepes.