Top 15 popular dishes in Morocco
Top 15 popular dishes in Morocco: Moroccan cuisine is an incredible melting pot of spices, meats and influences from Arab and Mediterranean countries. Scour the markets of any Moroccan city and you’ll find a vast array of colorful spices, herbs, street food stalls and aromas that will make you fall in love with Moroccan cuisine.
Most people know Moroccan food for its heavy reliance on delicious spices such as saffron, turmeric, cumin, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, paprika, ginger and fennel to name but a few! There are also striking similarities with the Mediterranean diet in terms of the meats, fish, fruit and vegetables used in cooking.
Some typical Moroccan dishes are much better known than others, and these are the ones you’re most likely to recognize. However, we wanted to highlight some of Morocco‘s lesser-known (but outrageously delicious) dishes.
Harira is a traditional Moroccan soup made with tomato, chickpeas, lentils and meat (beef, lamb or chicken). Of course, like with most foods from the past, The formula and the particular items used can be altered in countless ways. It is usually eaten as a starter or a hearty lunch, and is most often associated with breaking the Ramadan fast.
Harira is a beautifully fragrant soup dish with warming qualities and the typically Arab flavors of saffron, turmeric and ginger. It’s most often served with a hard-boiled egg to add a refreshing earthiness. Try this Moroccan Harira recipe for yourself.
Top 15 popular dishes in Morocco: I love Mechoui because it’s such a beautiful sharing meal that brings guests together and is perfect for celebrations. Mechoui is a whole lamb that is slowly roasted on a spit over a fire for up to nine hours.
The result of the slow roasting is melting meat that just falls off the bone. Simply tear the meat apart and eat it with cumin and salt for the most authentic Moroccan experience. There’s a delicious lamb mechoui recipe to try here.
Tajine (maraq or marqa)
When people think of Moroccan cuisine, tagine is one of the first dishes that comes to mind. Tajine is so closely associated with Morocco that it has become somewhat synonymous with any mention of Moroccan cuisine! In fact, tagine takes its name from the clay pot in which the dish is cooked, rather than from the food itself.
In a nutshell, tagine is a slow-cooked meat stew, often lamb and chicken, with a variety of fresh, fruity ingredients such as apples, apricots, pears, raisins, quinces, olives, dates and prunes, as well as vegetables. Typical spices include ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, saffron, cumin and paprika, and additional flavorings such as honey and nuts are also usually added.
The slow cooking of the dish in the earthenware tagine pot means that the flavors mingle and sleep right down to the meat, which falls easily from the bone. The blend of spices and fruits gives this dish a uniquely North African taste, offering a hearty yet fresh flavor. Discover this excellent recipe for authentic Moroccan lamb tagine.
Stuffed fried sardines are a fantastic Moroccan street food served by vendors in markets and cities such as the capital Marrakech. Sardines were generally considered a poor man’s food due to the association of fishermen from less affluent backgrounds. Of course, Moroccan cuisine not only has many notable Mediterranean influences, it also boasts a superb fishing coastline!
Stuffed sardines are simply prepared by filling them with chermoula paste, covering them with flour and frying. You can find an excellent recipe for stuffed fried sardines here.
Briwat are deliciously sweet, stuffed, triangle-shaped pastry turnovers that have been deep-fried. Stuffed with meat and cheese and a few simple seasonings, they are then dipped in hot honey before eating.
Briwat is a favorite family snack that is closely associated with Ramadan, so they are very popular in Morocco! As you’d expect, there are hundreds of variations on the classic recipe, but I particularly like this one because it feels so authentically Moroccan, using typical ingredients and spices.
Moroccan chicken Bastilla
A meal called chicken Bastilla is typically served only on special occasions, such as weddings and festivities. Bastilla is essentially a chicken pie baked with unique Moroccan spices such as saffron and cinnamon.
Chicken is the meat most commonly used in Bastilla, cooked with onions and red bell pepper, a wide range of herbs and spices, cinnamon-roasted almonds, and encased in a delicious phyllo pastry. Of course, it’s a favorite not only in Morocco but the rest of the world too!
Chicken bastilla is sometimes considered a complicated dish, but if you’re up for the challenge, there’s a fabulous recipe here.
Another festive dish reserved for special occasions, rfissa is a dish of chicken, onion, vegetables and lentils served with shredded puff pastry in soup stock. A bit like a deconstructed pie, except that the broth is the real hero of the dish, making it hearty and hearty.
Of course, expect to use a wide range of spices or the Moroccan spice blend of ras el hanout. There’s an excellent recipe for chicken rfissa that you can find here.
Top 15 popular dishes in Morocco: Zaalouk (or Zalouk) is a cooked Moroccan salad made from eggplant and tomatoes seasoned with a range of traditional spices and garlic. Usually served as a side dish, it is eaten with a large piece of pita bread or crusty white bread to soak up the delicious sauce.
The zaalouk is then garnished with coriander and a lemon wedge. If you’re planning to try zaalouk, I highly recommend using it as a side dish to another traditional Moroccan dish, as it works very well as a complimentary dish. Check out this great zaalouk recipe for inspiration.
Of course, no list of Moroccan dishes would be complete without couscous! It’s almost hard to write about couscous because it’s such a basic eponymous ingredient of Moroccan cuisine that you sometimes forget it even originated in North Africa!
If you’re not already familiar with couscous, it’s a bit like rice, but made up of thousands of tiny steamed wheat dumplings. It’s a staple ingredient in much of North Africa and is usually served in a stew with vegetables and spices. It can be served as a side dish or a main couscous dish is also quite common like this one.
Khobz (pita or flatbread)
Khubz is a typically Arab bread that is widely consumed in Morocco and indeed in the Middle East and North Africa. Although it’s not unique to Morocco, it’s a popular staple that’s an integral part of the traditional diet, so it’s important to include it!
Khubz has the same traditional bread ingredients of yeast, flour, salt and water, but it’s baked to be round with little bubble pockets all over. Khubz is eaten as an accompaniment to almost any dish, as Moroccan cuisine consists of many stews, broths and delicious sauces.
You can try making your own khubz with this recipe.
Top 15 popular dishes in Morocco: Now, you might find this one a bit odd, but it’s not even unique to Morocco. In Norway, they serve their own version of sheepshead, Smalahove. Of course, Moroccan steamed sheep’s head is a little different, as it has a bit of a kick.
Sheepshead is prepared by steaming and charring the head before serving with vegetables and a spicy sauce. If you’re in possession of a sheep’s head and would like to create a unique Moroccan dish, you can try this recipe.
Brochettes are essentially lamb or beef skewers that are known in other parts of the world as brochettes. They are a traditional Moroccan street food that you’ll find absolutely everywhere you visit, but they are also prepared at home and especially on special occasions such as Eid al Adha.
Different countries have their own styles of cooking skewers, but Moroccans alternately use pieces of lamb and beef marinated in a spice mix of cumin, cinnamon and cayenne among other spices. Here’s a great kebab recipe to try for yourself.
So there you have it! The most popular authentic Moroccan dishes you simply must try at home or when visiting the country yourself!
Originally from the city of Marrakech, Tanjia is a typical and original Moroccan specialty. In fact, this dish is cooked in an earthen pot called a tangia, in the embers of a traditional hammam’s wood-fired oven, for at least 4 hours!
Generally prepared by men, this speciality is mainly composed of meat, simmered of course with spices and preserved lemons. A pure delight!
Top 15 popular dishes in Morocco: To round off our culinary journey, let’s discover baghrir, or the pancake with a thousand holes!
Drizzled with a traditional syrup of orange blossom water and cinnamon, this delicacy is eaten with butter and honey, accompanied by the famous mint tea. Moroccans love it, and so do foreigners!
Top 15 popular dishes in Morocco: Get your taste buds ready for a trip to the land of Moroccan sweets!
Gazelle horn is undoubtedly the best-known and most popular of these pastries. Made with crushed almonds and orange blossom, it’s the perfect accompaniment to the ritual of mint tea.