Morocco is world-renowned for its food. A visit to the Moroccan food markets is an absolute must when traveling through this beautiful country; the sights, smells, and tastes are all-encompassing and quite an experience.
What’s Special About Moroccan Food?
Moroccan food is very unique, with some exciting dishes that you may not see at home, like the steamed head of a lamb. It is common to get involved with your hands and eat your food by dunking in a slice of the many types of bread available in Morocco.
Dishes vary from region to region and are heavily influenced by French, Arab, Jewish, African, and Magherbi, so expect lots of delicious and varied flavors. Let’s get stuck in and start discovering some of Morocco’s top traditional Moroccan dishes.
The Most Famous Dish In Moroccan Cuisine
This is the most well-known dish in Morocco and a major export worldwide in cuisine. If you’ve ever had or made a couscous dish at home, its origins come from this North Western African country.
It is a highly versatile dish that can be cooked with various meats, fish, vegetables, or just as it is as a side, depending on the occasion. The most popular variation of this dish comes with seven vegetables, anything from pumpkin, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, yellow and white turnips, onions, cabbage, lentils, and more.
This Moroccan food is regularly served on a Friday, a sacred day in Morocco. However you have this dish served, it is available in many restaurants across Morocco and is a staple of Moroccan cuisine.
Breads In Moroccan Food
Bread in Moroccan cuisine is extremely varied, and you will find these breads everywhere you go; all are served with a variety of meals, from breakfast, as a sandwich, or as part of a larger meal. Eating with your hands is encouraged in Morocco, and their breads are a common way of scooping up a meal instead of using cutlery.
Harcha (Semolina Flatbread)
This looks like an English muffin but is definitely more like cornbread in both taste and texture. Harcha is traditionally served in Moroccan cuisine at breakfast and is excellent when warm with some jams, syrup or cheese.
Whilst the recipe will change slightly from place to place, its base ingredients will contain semolina, milk, butter and baking powder, all before being cooked in a pan or skillet. You may find this bread served as a snack throughout the day in Morocco or stuffed full of ingredients as a sandwich.
The word Khobz can generally be translated as ‘bread’, but here in Morocco, it is a particular type of bread that is round and flat. This version is perhaps the most simple bread you will find in your travels in Morocco. It is very popular in bakeries and baked fresh every morning in homes and restaurants. Khobz is also a typical sandwich bread option, with its firm crust and fluffy dough.
Msemen (Semolina Flatbread)
Also known as Rghaif, this is another bread that is common in Morocco cuisine and is a square-style bread made from semolina dough and butter. It is pretty thin and, therefore, quite crunchy.
Msemen is excellent when served with either some soft cheese, olive oil, or jam, the latter being a popular breakfast choice. This traditional Moroccan food is served at any time of day if you fancy a snack as well. It is closely related to a pancake, and you might see this sold as such instead of as a bread.
Breakfast Dishes In Moroccan Food
Starting your day right with a filling breakfast is very important. Moroccan cuisine will provide you with some tasty options to get in you in the mood for a day of delicious food tasting and adventure. These are just some of the many popular Moroccan breakfast foods.
These pancakes will just melt in your mouth and can come with various toppings. They are made with semolina and resemble more of a crepe than American-style pancakes. They will also have the bubbles break through the batter whilst they are cooked.
Beghrir will only be cooked on one side before being served with honey and butter syrup, preserves or jams, butter or just honey on its own. It’s a tasty breakfast in Morocco and will surprisingly fill you up.
Sfenj (Sweet Fritters)
This is a Moroccan version of a donut, and is made with an unsweetened leavened dough which is very sticky. The dough will be left to rise before being shaped into rings and deep fried.
They have a lovely crunch on the outside whilst remaining fluffy and chewy on the inside. If you want that extra sweetness, they can be dusted with powdered sugar. They are a very popular breakfast Moroccan food and will regularly be sold by street vendors from the early hours.
Khlea and Eggs (Dried Meat)
Khlea is a meat marinated with coriander, garlic and cumin and then left to dry out in the sun before being cooked in water, animal fat and oil. Its taste and texture is a perfect combination to fried eggs.
A nice thick chunk of Moroccan flatbread will be served alongside this breakfast, alongside a mint tea or coffee. This breakfast is a standard option when looking for traditional Moroccan food.
Soups In Morocco Cuisine
Soups are a significant part of Moroccan food and are a common sight in the country. These are some of their top soups in Moroccan cuisine. Also quite common as a breakfast meal, you can have these at any time of day.
Hariria (Tomato-based Soup)
Hariria is perhaps the more famous of soups in all Moroccan cuisine. It has endless variations, but its core ingredients will contain tomatoes, lentils and chickpeas. Hariria will have either rice or noodles for some added texture, making this a very hearty and filling soup.
During Ramadan, this soup is regularly eaten to break the fast. Nevertheless, it can also be found all year round and even as a breakfast option if you want to try something traditional in the morning.
This is a traditional Moroccan food that you can find in many restaurants and food stalls. You will be given a toothpick to pick out the snails from the shells before moving on to the soup.
The snails will be served up in a broth called ‘Babbouche’, which is a peppery style of soup. The white snails would have been slowly cooked with over a dozen different spices before being combined with the broth.
It is extremely popular with locals, and the stalls where this is sold will be thrilled that you will give this Moroccan dish a try. The flavors of this dish will take you by surprise, and don’t be put off by the thought of snails!
Bissara (Fava Bean Soup)
Fava beans are a favored option to make this creamy soup, with peas being a close replacement. Stalls in Morocco will have large pots of Bissara ready and waiting to be dished up as a hearty meal, served with some tasty warm bread to dip in.
Moroccans love a soup for breakfast, and this is a popular option at the start of the day, soup-wise. But if you are not quite ready to have some soup for breakfast, this Moroccan dish is also served throughout the day in restaurants as a side or a starter.
FLAVORS AROUND THE WORLD
Mains and Street Foods In Morocco Cuisine
Morocco cuisine is famous for its street foods and mains. You could walk around a food market and food stalls for hours, trying out all the different and delicious options on display. Many of these Moroccan foods are also available at roadside stops, cafes and restaurants. Will you be brave enough to try some of their more traditional delicacies?
Rfissa (Stew Chicken And Lentils)
Rfissa’s origins can be traced back to a centuries-old Arab dish of stew and broth. More commonly served with chicken and lentils, that will come with a bed of bread, seasoned with the aromatic herbs of fenugreek, ras el hanout and saffron.
This traditional Moroccan food is very much a comfort food and is known to be good for postpartum recovery due to its health benefits. Fortunately, It is not only reserved for new mothers. You will also find this dish at religious festivals and celebrations amongst the usual street stalls and restaurants in Morocco.
Moroccans are very resourceful in using every part of the animal, from its head all the way down to its feet and tail, and the liver is no exception; they have put quite a unique twist on how to make a delicious Moroccan dish using the liver.
This crumbed liver is very similar to schnitzel and will regularly be served chopped up and stuffed in a sandwich with a side of fries. If you’re not entirely keen on trying liver on its own, this crumbed and fried version may help for your first go at Moroccan-style liver.
Tagine (Slow-Cooked Stew)
Anywhere you go in Morocco, you will find Tagine in many, many forms. They are available everywhere, from streetside restaurants to street vendors, cafes to upmarket restaurants.
It’s a very distinctive Moroccan dish with its conical lid, and this stew can be made with anything from chicken, beef, lamb, or pork to vegetarian-style meals. The stew is left to cook in the pot, where the name Tagine comes from and left to cook inside until tender.
You will traditionally eat this Moroccan food straight from the cooking pot, with some Khobz or other bread to scoop up the delicious stew. No trip to Morocco is complete without trying this traditional Moroccan cuisine.
Fish Chermoula (Herb Sauce Marinade)
A marinade born in Morocco, this dish contains a blend of spices such as coriander and cumin with some fresh chillis mixed in with some olive oil. As is quite common with herb marinades and sauces, there will always be some variations. However, the base of this Moroccan food is usually the same across restaurants.
You will usually see this marinade paired with some fresh fish. With Morocco’s vast coastline, you will be spoilt for choice with the fresh fish available.
Chicken With Preserved Lemon and Olives
This popular and classic Moroccan dish can be found across the country, cooked in numerous ways. It can be found either stewed in Tagine’s, roasted as it is whole or cooked in a good ol’ pot.
No matter how it comes prepared, it will taste delicious and can be bought either from street vendors, restaurants both large and small, as well as at celebrations. This traditional Moroccan food comes cooked with plenty of onions, saffron and ginger before being finished off with some preserved lemons and tasty olives.
Bastilla (Savory Pie)
Bastilla is Morocco’s version of a savory pie. Having originally been prepared with pigeon, this pie is now cooked with chicken and a mix of saffron, pepper, cinnamon and ginger. It is all layered between traditional Moroccan warqa pastry, omelet and a crunchy almond layer.
You’ll be able to grab a single portion of this pie or a slice from a bigger creation of this dish. Its mix of sweet and savory flavors makes this a very unique food in Moroccan cuisine, and we cannot recommend this pie enough!
Mechoui (Roasted Lamb)
Traditionally in Morocco food, a whole lamb is roasted either on a spit or in a large pit in the ground over smouldering wood. Because of the slow roasting, its meat will fall off the bone and will be eaten by hand. No dinner will be complete without this slow-roasted meat which also can be served as an appetizer before the main meals.
This beautiful cumin-spiced lamb is popular throughout Morocco. If you are lucky enough to be invited to a private event or celebration, it is quite common that you will find Mechoui being roasted over a fire amongst the offerings of food. Be sure to give this Moroccan food a try if you see it.
Due to the location of Morocco, and the country’s extensive coastline, you will find sardines everywhere. Morocco is also known to be the largest exporter of sardines, and they also know how to serve up a tasty sardine dish.
A relatively popular way of serving sardines in Moroccan cuisine is by combining them with the previously mentioned chermoula sauce and deep frying them. This is a tasty snack and a great way of eating sardines.
Makouda (Deep-fried Potato Fritters)
Makouda is a potato-style fritter or potato cake and a staple of the Moroccan food stalls. They are great as a snack, a filling in a sandwich, an appetizer or as a side.
It can either come made with mashed potato or grated, depending on where you grab this; all you need to decide is how you’re going to eat it. They will come seasoned with some lovely spices such as cumin, turmeric, and cilantro and filled with sauteed onions and garlic before being fried to a golden crisp.
If you follow the billows of clouds in the Morrocan food market, you will find Brochettes at the source. These mini chicken kebabs are rubbed with paprika, cumin and salt before being grilled.
Whilst spiced ground beef or lamb are shaped around a skewer and grilled to perfection.
This popular dish in Morocco will be served to you in a traditional Klobz, with some harissa sauce, onions and some extra spices. It’s a very light and healthy meal and will keep you full for a while.
These little eggplant slices are spiced with some paprika and dipped in batter before being deep-fried. They taste great alongside some spicy lubia, a white bean and tomato stew, or with a tasty salad, you will not be able to stop at one.
Eggplant is a popular ingredient in Moroccan food and this style of serving them is one very common sight you will see. You can grab these just as they are if you want a light snack during your travels.
Stuffed Camel Spleen
Now stuffed camel spleen is a true Morocco cuisine speciality, and we say don’t knock it til you try it. Traditionally the tehal (camel’s spleen) will be stuffed with camel meat, ground beef or lamb, or a mixture of all three before being filled with olives, spices and some hump fat. The Moroccan dish is then baked in the oven.
When it is cooked, it will be sliced, fried up and regularly served as a filling in sandwiches. It has a soft and creamy taste, and the stuffing can also be filled with eggs, herbs and vegetables to enhance the flavor.
Zalouk (Eggplant and Tomato Salad)
This is a Morrocan dish that is also known in some countries as Baba Ghanoush, and this dish is a unique variation in Morocco. Using roasted fried and grilled eggplant mixed with tomatoes and peppers, it’s a great salad in the sense it can be served both hot and cold.
Recipes will differ, especially away from the more well-known Baba Ghanoush you may be more aware of, but it is just as tasty. In addition to being a trusty side dish, it can easily be served as a dip with some crusty bread.
Steamed Sheep Head
Now, this is very much a traditional Moroccan food and is regularly found during the festival of Eid-al-Adha (Festival of the Sacrifice). The head of the sheep will be steamed for hours before being served with cumin, chilli and salt.
The whole of the head is edible, and the cheek, meat and tongue are considered to be the best part. You will find this quite popular in Moroccan grilles and some market stalls. Are you brave enough to give this traditional Moroccoan dish a go?
Briouat (Moroccan Samosa)
Also known as Briwat, they are very popular in Moroccan food. They are an easy find in restaurants and food stalls, where the fillings will change depending on where you order a portion.
Briouats are little phyllo-style triangle pastries stuffed with various fillings from minced meat such as lamb, chicken or beef, vegetables and cheese before being fried in a light layer of oil. They are also very popular as a dessert as well, where they will be filled with a sweet filling in place of the savory.
Tanjia (Stewed Pot)
Quite similar to the tagine, also known as Tangia, this is another version of the clay pot and a traditional food in Morocco. These little cooking clay pots will come filled with chunks of lamb or beef. The meat is combined with some spices before being slow cooked amongst embers and finally served in their original pot.
It is primarily a meat-based dish, so don’t be surprised when it doesn’t come with any vegetables. Tanjia is one of the richer Moroccan dishes and best served with some Moroccan bread and some mint tea.
Desserts In Moroccan Food
Whilst Morocco may be more well known for their Couscous and Tagine dishes, they do have some desserts that we must showcase here. Nuts in their many forms are quite common in Moroccan dishes, and the desserts are full of some delightful and aromatic spices.
Kaab El Ghazal (Almond Pastry)
Directly translating from Moroccan as gazelle ankles, this is a crescent-shaped cookie that is more well known as Gazelle Horns. It has a very distinctive look, and you won’t be able to miss it. You can find them at Moroccan food stalls throughout the country and on special occasions.
It is a light pastry filled with an almond paste, which has been scented with orange blossom flower water, and some added cinnamon. It is baked until it turns just about golden. If you love almond croissants, you will devour these!
Chebakia (Sesame Cookie)
This is one of the oldest desserts in Moroccan cuisine and is regularly served during Ramadan. It is a sesame seed-based cookie, which has been shaped into a flower, fried and either coated with anise or honey. You may also find it named Mkharka or Shebakia. It is also made for special occasions.
Sellou (Almond And Sesame Sweet)
There are many names for this dish, including Sfouf or Slilou. This is another popular dessert found during Ramadan and at many other big occasions. It will be made with various roasted nuts, oil or butter, flour and sugar.
Sellou is particularly popular during Ramadan as it contains plenty of nutrients, helping to sustain people during the long hours of fasting. It is left unbaked, and we recommend grabbing a portion of this with some herbal tea, it is a satisfying combination.
M’Hanncha (Sweet Pastry Cake)
M’hanncha is another Moroccan food that comes with almond paste, layered inside warqa pastry (phyllo) and rolled up into a snake-like circle. There are many recipes with this cake that use different variations of the almond paste. However, it is commonly made with almonds, cinnamon, butter, sugar, mastic and orange flower water.
When baked, it will either come dusted with powdered sugar or have a brush of warm honey over the top. You will find this cake in either a miniature version or can grab a portion broken off from a larger cake.
If you are a sweet tooth, make sure to check out more of the delicious Moroccan desserts and sweets in Morocco.
Trying Traditional Moroccan Food
With such an extensive list, you will find some foods you will absolutely adore in Morocco. It is no surprise that Moroccan cuisine is famed worldwide for its flavors.
No matter where you end up in Morocco, you will be able to try some real delicacies you will not be able to find elsewhere in the world. Everyone talks about how excellent Moroccan food is, and once you visit, you will understand why.