7 Most Popular Moroccan Dishes

Category: Uncategorized

Moroccan cuisine is rich in flavors and cooking styles. Throughout history, the country has been under numerous influences from other countries and civilizations, such as the Beber, Andalusian, Mediterranean, and Arabic cultures. This important heritage is mirrored in the variety and diversity of dishes, in one table one can find numerous tastes- sweet, savory, spicy, zesty, fresh, etc. 

It is no wonder that Moroccan cuisine is now an internationally renowned culinary destination. Moroccan food includes various vegetables, poultry and meat, fish, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices, and it features limitless cooking styles- curing, preserving, steaming, grilling, caramelizing, etc. 

In this article you will discover some of the most famous Moroccan dishes.

Moroccan Tagines

The Moroccan tagine is a wonderful slow-cooked dish that you will find everywhere in Morocco. It is made with different ingredients and techniques, such as meat, poultry, fish, vegetables and dried fruits. Moroccans prepare tagines on a weekly basis, since they are easy, delicious, and healthy. Also, tagines are a wonderful way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet, the slow simmering of the tagine gives vegetables an extraordinary earthy taste. While the meat and poultry turn out moist and tender when cooked in a tagine.

Tagines come in different sizes and shapes. The word tagine refers to the conical clay pot, wherein many staple dishes are cooked, and also to the cooking technique, since a lot of people nowadays prepare tagine recipes in pressure cookers, heavy pots or slow cookers. The traditional tagine is designed to trap steam in the cone-like shape lid, which returns the condensed moisture back to the dish. 

There are limitless ways of cooking a tagine. While some prefer to make a savory version, others add a sweet note to their tagines by adding nuts, or caramelized dry fruits or vegetables as topping. However, most Moroccans serve tagine with bread alongside a colorful array of side dishes.

Best Moroccan Tagines from FlavorsOfMorocco.com

Couscous 

Couscous Tfaya from CookingwithAlia.com

Couscous is a staple dish across North Africa whose origins are mostly attributed to the Berbers. In the past, It was made from scratch, the wheat was bought at a local market, grinded to the preferred degrees of fineness at a local mill . Then a variety of things were made from it, couscous with meat or poultry together with vegetables, couscous with buttermilk (also known as Sikuk), couscous with a sweet caramelized  raisins and onions topping called Tfaya, or with ground dry nuts, powdered sugar and cinnamon. In Morocco, couscous is prepared every week and for almost every family gathering, especially on Friday afternoons when it is served with a cold cup of buttermilk.

Tanjia with Beef

In many cultures around the world, you will find classic dishes that are cooked under the ground, in coal or wood fire.  For example, in New Zealand, you will find the ancient technique of The Hāngī, while in South America, there is the much celebrated Barbacoa in Mexico, and Pachamanca (Earth-pot) in Peru. This is one of the most ancient ways of cooking, especially to cook large portions of meat for a large number of people, family gatherings and special occasions. 

Similarly, in Morocco, in almost the same fashion, tanjia is a classic slow-cooked meat stew, a delicious, easy to prepare and comforting meal that demands only patience (if made the traditional way). It is not a festive dish, although sometimes served on certain occasions, but more of a get-together treat for friends, neighbors, colleagues, and mostly for family weekend reunions. 

The meat is slowly cooked for hours in a clay pot buried in the ashes of dying fires until it is confit enough to melt in your mouth. The fragrance that comes out once it is cooked is packed with unique aromas from the lemons and garlic.

Chicken Pastilla 

The chicken pastilla, or bastilla djaj, is a chicken and almond pie. It is the most popular Moroccan dish in the country and around the world. You will find it served at every Moroccan restaurant, and it will never fail to appear as the first dish at Moroccan weddings and other major celebrations.

Like many popular Moroccan dishes, the chicken pastilla combines savory and sweet flavors, for a unique and exceptionally delicious final dish. This pie is made of three scrumptious layers: tender shredded chicken, an aromatic onion and egg mixture, and crispy fried almonds, flavored with cinnamon and honey. The layers are then wrapped in warqa (or phyllo dough), which is baked to flaky, crispy perfection.

Traditionally, the chicken pastilla was made with pigeon meat, then dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon, or for a modern version, the crispy phyllo is stuffed with chicken, then bathed in runny honey and sprinkled with roasted almonds.

Chicken Pastilla from FlavorsOfMorocco.com

Harira

Harira is the most popular Moroccan soup. It is a must on every Ramadan table due to its wonderful silky texture and filling nature when served alongside a hard-boiled egg, chebakia,a honey and orange blossom flavored pastry, and dates. You can also find harira all year around at home, street food stalls, and restaurants. 

This soup is considered as a full meal-in-a-bowl because it contains a variety of vegetables and legumes. And it can fit various dietary preferences, as it can be made vegetarian or vegan as well as with beef. 

Harira in Moroccan Arabic comes from the word “harir”, which means silk; referring to the silky texture of this zesty tomato-based soup. The texture of the harira is obtained thanks to the rice and the unique technique of Teddouira’ (thickener), which is a flour and water mixture.

Moroccan Harira from FlavorsOfMorocco.com

Beef and Prune Tagine

Beef and prune tagine is a very popular Moroccan dish that is served during major celebrations as well as for special family meals. The beef and prune tagine is the most famous sweet and savory Moroccan dish composed as the name indicates of two layers: a meat layer and a prune layer. This tagine is usually cooked in a traditional clay dish, however, to save time or when cooking for a large number of people, the meat stew can also be made in a pressure cooker or large pot. 

The meat layer, which is the savory layer, is made with either beef or lamb cooked in an aromatic base of onions, garlic, and spices. While the second layer, which is the sweet layer, is made with dried prunes caramelized with honey and cinnamon. The sweet prunes and their syrup are served on top of the tender meat stew, then the dish is decorated with fried almonds and quail eggs. The tagine is always served with Moroccan crusty bread, which is used to soak up the meat sauce.

Beef and Prune Tagine from FlavorsOfMorocco.com

Roast chicken

Moroccan Roast Chicken, also known as Djaj Mhamer, is a classic dish that is served at every Moroccan celebration! This dish has two main components, the golden roasted chicken, and the flavorful onion sauce, called “daghmira.” The chicken is first marinated in aromatic spices before being slowly cooked in a tasty sauce. Then, the chicken is removed from the pot, slathered in butter and roasted until the skin is golden brown and crispy, but the inside remains tender and juicy. 

Like many Moroccan chicken dishes, roast chicken is served with olives and preserved lemons, which bring a wonderful note of acidity to the classic dish.

Seffa vermicelli

Seffa Vermicelle from FlavorsOfMorocco.com

Seffa is a staple Moroccan dish of steamed and sweetened vermicelle that is mounted on a platter in a dome shape, then garnished with grounded peanuts, powdered sugar and cinnamon. It is usually present in every special gathering or occasion as a follow-up course, or as a stand-alone meal in different regions of Morocco. 

Melting vermicelle conferred by the butter and crispy coating provided by peanuts is what gives Seffa its unique profile. The peanuts are baked, then sprinkled on top of the Seffa, while the soft touch of powdered sugar adds a sweet flavor to the dish. 

Each region in Morocco prepares Seffa in its own way. For example, in Casablanca, Seffa is usually a follow-up course to a main dish. While, a vegetarian, nut-free version called Seffa touba is served as a light dinner in Meknes and Fez, wherein it’s sprinkled only with orange flower water and offered alongside cold or warm milk. For vegetarians, this light dish of Seffa can be a perfect dinner or lunch.