Must-try Moroccan food & drink
Tuesday, 21 February 2023
Morocco is a country known for its vibrant flavours, aromatic spices and culinary delights, which in turn, makes its food and drink some of the best in the world. Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and sitting at the northern tip of Africa, Morocco combines warm climes with celebrated culture. For those enjoying a cruise around Iberia and North Africa, stops here at locations including Agadir, Casablanca and Marrakesh, will surely be a highlight.
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Commonly known for dishes like stews, tagines and tea, in this guide, we take a look at some must-try Moroccan food and drink that has to be experienced when on a cruise to this magical country. Read on to find out which of these dishes we recommend you try and why!
A dish that is also enjoyed in the UK, couscous is a staple food in Morocco and is made up of small, steamed granules of rolled durum wheat semolina that is often served alongside a stew or tagine. Moroccan couscous can be a dish in itself, and roasted vegetables, meats and other grains are often added to make a substantial meal.
Vessels to cook couscous have been found in burial sites that date back to the 3rd century BC and are an important element of the country’s history. The hardest part of the grain is sprinkled with water and rolled in the hands to form small pellets. The art of couscous making has been practised for years, but the labour-intensive process is often still completed by hand in countries like Morocco, giving the food a unique taste and texture here.
Tagine or Tajine is a North African dish named after the pot in which it is cooked in. The Arabic word ‘ṭažin’ means ‘shallow earthen pot’ in Ancient Greek. The ancient pot is used like a slow cooker to cook meats and vegetables slowly and gently until they form a stew-like consistency.
The blog Legal Nomads wrote about their experiences with tagine in Morocco and what they thought of it, commenting: “Tagine in Morocco is basically their version of the quintessential bowl of soup – varied in flavour, infinite in possibilities. Cooked in a clay pot of the same name, the classic dish can be built using chicken or beef, lamb or just vegetables and even has an egg version called a Berber omelette. While some complain that they are tagined-out, I am as enamoured with tagine as I was with soup in Burma, and I’ve had a wonderful time sampling the different possibilities.”
There are a plethora of different tagine recipes, and these often differ based on the country you are in, but Moroccan tagine usually consists of meat, poultry or fish, fruit, vegetables and, on occasion, nuts and dried fruits.
Harira is a traditional soup prepared in Morocco, Algeria and North Africa. Often enjoyed as a starter or eaten as a snack, Moroccan harira is known for including lentils which often bulk out the dish to make it a main meal if served alongside bread. Although it can be served year-round, Harira is most prominently enjoyed during Ramadan.
Harira has quite a complex recipe that makes up its distinctive colour and flavour. Water and flour are mixed to create a thickening mixture and added to tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas, lava beans, onion, rice, beaten egg and sometimes a small amount of meat.
Chermoula is a relish or marinade used in North Africa to traditionally flavour fish and seafood. Used in locations like Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia, the vibrant green paste is often compared to the Latin American chimichurri, or the Canarian mojo sauces.
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There is a basic list of ingredients in chermoula, but recipes do often differ depending on location, but the main ingredients include garlic, cumin, coriander, oil, lemon juice and salt, sometimes there is the addition of items like ground chili peppers, saffron and other herbs.
M’hancha is a sweet treat that is named after the traditional representation of the coiling pastry and is also known as Almond Snake Pastry. Perfect for a large gathering, M’hancha is puff pastry wrapped around an almond paste, baked and served covered in icing sugar. The Moroccan almond paste inside is up for interpretation but is often made up of roasted almonds, sugar, cinnamon, butter and orange flower water.
The recipe website Natalie’s Killer Cuisine explains a little more about the dessert, commenting: “The Moroccan Serpent Cake is one of the most popular desserts in Morocco. This delicious treat is easy to make and has a rich and exotic taste. This sweet and spicy dessert is best served with a cup of mint tea or a mug of sweet mint tea. While the name “snake” may not sound appetising, it is actually the word for snake, m’hancha.”
Moroccan Mint Tea
Mint tea is enjoyed globally but Moroccan mint tea or Maghrebi mint tea as it is often called originates in North Africa and offers a unique and pungent taste. North African green tea is prepared with spearmint leaves and sugar and is central to social life in certain areas.
Mint tea or tea of some form is typically consumed up to three times a day and can sometimes be taken in a ceremonial form, this typically happens when prepared for guests.
Must-try Moroccan food & drink:
- Moroccan Mint Tea
If you’re planning to visit Morocco on a cruise from Tilbury in 2023, then hopefully this guide has given you a little insight into some of the delicious food and drink you can expect to enjoy. Although it might be a lesser-known cruise destination, it’s one you’re bound to fall in love with.
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