Moroccan cuisine is unlike other Arab, African or Mediterranean foods that you may be familiar with. Although it has influences from other regions around it, Moroccan gastronomy offers an interesting delicay of meats, vegetables and spices.
flavorings include preserved lemons, unrefined olive juices and dried fruits. Spices such as saffron, turmeric, cumin and paprika as well as herbs like parsley, cilantro and mint are heavily used.
A typical Moroccan meal starts with a variety of hot and cold salads. Moroccan salad is a mixture of chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and olives. Zaalouk is a mixture of crushed eggplant and tomatoes mixed with garlic and spices, served cold. Harira is Morocco’s famous lentil and tomato soup, which is also used to break the fast at Ramadan. Khobz, traditional Moroccan bread is served at all meals. The main entrée is almost always cooked and served in a Tagin, a dome shaped heavy clay dish that is sometimes painted or glazed for decoration. The Tagin has a flat circular base in which you cook the food and a large cone shaper cover that retains the moisture while cooking. Tagin of meat (beef, lamb), chicken and vegetables is most common. Couscous is one of the most popular entrées found here and is made of semolina and wheat flour by rolling it into fine granules. The end result is of almost powdery consistency which is steamed and served at room temperature with vegetables or meat stew, and sometimes seasoned with saffron to add color.
Pastilla is an elaborate preparation of layers of phyllo, eggs, almond paste and ground cooked chicken or mixed seafood. It is then topped with cinnamon and powdered sugar and can be served as an appetizer or entrée.
Desserts traditionally consist of fresh fruits. There are a number of bakeries and patisseries in Morocco but most of these sweets are eaten with tea between meals. Green tea soaked in fresh mint leaves and lots of sugar is indispensable throughout the day. The Moroccan tea culture involves pouring tea from a beautiful silver kettle into small glasses and is enjoyed leisurely with friends and family.