Inside look into the traditional Moroccan Ramadan table

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The month of Ramadan is known of course for its spiritual atmosphere where people take time to read the holy book, visit family and do good deeds, but it is also known for the tradition of cooking and preparing delicious Ramadan specialties “Chhiwate” (good Ramadan recipes) for the evening. During Ramadan, food is of huge importance in Moroccan culture. At sunset, people gather around their food and await the prayers that signal the end of fasting for that day. Families join together to enjoy iftar, a Moroccan breakfast, which marks the start of the festive evening meal. At iftar, or break-fast, people commonly munch on dates, milk, juices, and sweets to get their necessary sugar fix after a day of fasting. To fill the table for this meal, aromatic Harira Soup is usually included, along with hard- boiled eggs, stuffed pastries, fried fish, pancakes and flatbreads. Additionally, sellou, chebekia, and cookies are typically prepared in bulk beforehand to last throughout Ramadan. All these delicious foods can be eaten all year but have a special place during this special time. The table of the Ftour in the month of Ramadan varies from one region to another, but Moroccans seem to agree on a few essential elements during this holy month, such as:

> Harira soup:

Harira Soup is a staple in Moroccan cuisine, and it is especially popular during the holy month of Ramadan. There are many variations of the soup, but the classic version contains lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and a variety of spices. The soup is typically served with dates and chebakia, and it is a perfect way to break the fast.

> Chebakia :

Chebbakia recipe from Flavors of Morocco

Chebakia is a traditional Moroccan pastry that has been enjoyed for centuries. The pastry is a deep-fried pastry shaped into a flower and covered in a syrup made from honey, sesame seeds, and orange blossom water. The pastry is usually served during the month of Ramadan, but it is also enjoyed throughout the year as a dessert or snack.

> Dates and Milk :

Dates are a staple of Ramadan in Morocco, as they are believed to be a symbol of hospitality, as well as being a food that is easy to store and transport. As a result, it is a common sight to see households preparing for the month of Ramadan by purchasing large amounts of dates. The combination of dates and milk is a traditional part of the Ramadan experience in Morocco. It is believed that when consumed together, dates and milk provide the body with a variety of health benefits.

> Sellou :

One of the traditional dishes that is specially prepared for Ramadan in Morocco is Sellou. Sellou is a mixture of almonds, peanuts and sesame seeds that is flavored with sugar and cinnamon. It is a popular snack that is consumed during the fasting period and is believed to provide energy and nourishment for the body during the long days of Ramadan. The traditional preparation of Sellou is time-consuming and labor-intensive. The nuts are first shelled and then roasted in a pan before they are ground to a powder with a pestle and mortar. The mixture is then combined with sugar and cinnamon, and the resulting Sellou is spread on flatbread or crackers and eaten as a snack.

Sellou recipe from Flavors of Morocco

> Baghrir :

Baghrir is a traditional Moroccan bread made with semolina flour. It is a thin pancake-like bread that is cooked on a hot griddle. It is characterized by having a spongy texture and a honeycomb-like appearance due to hundreds of tiny holes. The most popular way to enjoy baghrir during Ramadan is to have it for the pre-dawn meal, or suhoor. This meal is usually served between 3 and 5 am and is an important part of Ramadan. People gather around the table to enjoy a nutritious meal before the day’s fast begins. Baghrir is a popular option for suhoor because it is light and easy to digest.

> Msemmen or Rghaif :

Msemmen is a delicious and versatile flatbread that is a staple of Moroccan cuisine. It is enjoyed in many different ways and is a great addition to any meal. Msemmen is an essential part of the Ramadan experience in Morocco. It is typically served as part of the iftar, which is the meal that breaks the day’s fast.

> Hard boiled eggs :

Hard boiled eggs are a great way to stay energized and full during the fasting period. They are a nutritious and filling meal, and they are easy to make and serve. Boiled eggs are also a great option for those observing Ramadan on a budget as they are an inexpensive meal option.

> Fried Sardines :

In Morocco, fried sardines are typically served either as a main dish or as an accompaniment to other dishes. The sardines can be served on their own, or with a variety of other ingredients such as onions, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, parsley, lemon, and olives. During Ramadan, fried sardines are an important part of the traditional cuisine in Morocco, providing sustenance and nourishment to those fasting during the holy month. The sardines are full of vital nutrients, and make for a flavorful and satisfying meal that is sure to please.

> Cigars and Briwats (Phyllo triangles):

Briwats and cigars are a delicious way to show appreciation and love during Ramadan; The tradition of serving briwats and cigars during this month has been passed down through generations. Moroccan briwats are a staple of the Moroccan kitchen. They are a type of savory pastry made with a combination of phyllo dough and various fillings. When it comes to fillings, the possibilities are endless. Ground beef, lamb, chicken, or vegetables are all popular options. You can also add nuts, olives, and/or spices to your briwats for additional flavor. The dough used for briwats can be made with either homemade phyllo dough or store-bought. If you choose to make your own, it’s important to be careful and patient when rolling it out. You want to make sure that the layers of phyllo dough are very thin and even.

Cheese and walnut cigars from Cooking with Alia