A Guide to Moroccan Spices

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Morocco is known for its unique and flavorful cuisine. From the colorful tagines to the savory couscous, Moroccan food is a delight for the senses. A big part of the flavor of Moroccan dishes comes from the spices used in their preparation. Some of the most popular Moroccan spices include cumin, paprika, ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric. These spices are often used in Moroccan tagines, a type of stew that is cooked slowly over low heat. When it comes to Moroccan spices, there are no hard and fast rules. Different families and regions will often have their own unique spice blends that they use in their cooking. However, these five spices are a good place to start if you’re looking to experiment with Moroccan flavors in your own kitchen.

Staple Moroccan Spices

A plethora of spices and flavors are used every time to create dishes that combine a myriad of complex flavor profiles. Common Moroccan spices include cumin, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, saffron, dried chilies, and paprika which can often be found in Moroccan staple dishes such as tagines, couscous, and bisteeya. Cumin is most commonly used to add earthy warmth to Moroccan dishes like lamb tagine with prunes or a savory vegetable stew. Turmeric adds depth of flavor and a rich yellow hue to soups and other Moroccan recipes as well. Ginger makes an appearance in Moroccan favorite chicken mechoui, giving it an added kick of heat and an aromatic aroma. 

Meanwhile, keeping with the theme of subtle sweetness mixed with heat are fragrant ingredients like cinnamon and nutmeg which can be found in Moroccan pastilla – a savory-sweet pastry made up of layers of mesh funnel cake filled with spiced meat or fish mixed together with caramelized onions, cinnamon, and nuts. Moroccan dishes truly cater to every type of appetite as they use a variety of spice combinations together allowing them to explore different dimensions of flavor right at their fingertips!

Moroccan Ras el Hanout

Moroccan spices are used to add flavor and depth to a wide variety of dishes. Moroccan cuisine often relies on a spice blend known as Ras el Hanout. Moroccan Rass el Hanout is an aromatic blend of Moroccan spices that includes between two and 20 ingredients such as cardamom, cloves, ginger, sumac, turmeric, and cumin. The accompanying flavors and aromas vary from region to region—usually due to the availability of different regional spices—but all Moroccan Rass el Hanout recipes contain cinnamon, black pepper, cumin, coriander, and chili flakes for heat. Moroccan cooks often use this special blend of herbs in stews and tagines because it helps balance the flavor, creating a complexity that elevates dishes to new heights. Each household has its own special recipe for Moroccan Rass el Hanout.

Mrouzia Spice mixture

Moroccan cuisine is well-renowned and admired the world over, showcasing signature ingredients and spices like Moroccan mrouzia – a mixture of some of the most recognizable Moroccan spices. This combination can consist of up to twelve separate spices including saffron, ginger, black peppers, turmeric, cinnamon, ras el hanout, cumin and more. The result is a complex yet subtle flavor that works in tandem with traditional Moroccan dishes like couscous or tagine. Generally, Moroccan people prepare Mrouzia as a special occasion dish during special events such as weddings and Eid al-Adha celebrations. If you are looking to try out this unique Moroccan spice blend in your recipes at home, you can find Moroccan Mrouzia pre-mixed and ready to buy from either local Middle Eastern food stores or the Flavors of Morocco Amazon store.

Chermoula Spice Mixture

Appetizers with chermoula from Flavors of Morocco

Moroccan chermoula is a delicious spice blend that originates from Morocco and is used to give complex flavor to many Moroccan dishes. This mix is composed of a wide range of Moroccan spices, such as garlic, paprika, cumin, parsley, coriander and oil, which come together to create an amazing flavor profile. Moroccan chermoula is often used in fish and chicken dishes as well as vegetable-based recipes like stews and salads. It can also be used as a marinade for grilling or roasting meats. No matter how it’s used, Moroccan chermoula offers a unique and flavorful experience for cooking enthusiasts looking to coax the most out of their Moroccan cuisine!