Food ranks very highly in importance in Morocco. Making food for family and friends is a means of expressing love for them, and most Moroccan mothers have perfected the imploring look that goes along with the command to “Kul, kul!” (“Eat, eat!”). I’d like to describe every meal I had in Morocco, as they were all very much social and bonding experiences (really), but that would take ages. Instead, I’ve compiled a list of foods we had the most often. This one’s for you, Mich.
- Bastilla: a meat pie made of waraqa (like phyllo dough), stuffed with poultry or fish, and topped with cinnamon and powdered sugar (at Bridges, they sprinkled the sugar into the shape of the Moroccan star). I don’t know the name for the filling used in vegetarian versions (totally non-traditional), but it is some sort of vegetable along the lines of spaghetti squash.
- Bread: also known as khoubz, bread is quite abundant in Morocco and is served with most meals and snacks, usually in the form of freshly baked kesra rounds. Spongy crepes are spread with honey, rolled, and eaten with tea. There is also a type of fried bread (comparable to chapatis) that I’ve completely failed to learn the name of (but believe me, I tried!) that is treated in a similar manner.
- Cereal: most mornings, Roomie, Arij, and I had cornflakes with hot milk (yes, hot) and sugar. This is one of the best breakfasts you will ever eat. You think I’m kidding.
- Chebakia: sesame cookies coated with honey, chebakia is a traditional sweet eaten during Ramadan. And I miss it.
- Couscous: always served for lunch on Fridays! Most couscous I had in Morocco had boiled carrots, cabbage, chickpeas, and pumpkin on it. However, sweet couscous is one of the most beautiful things ever. Instead of vegetables, the couscous has almonds and a sweet raisin topping. SO GOOD.
- Fruit: fruit is served instead of prepared dessert following a meal, and for the most part, it’s unbelievably good (except the apples. I never met a particularly good Moroccan apple). Watermelon and bananas were elevated in my perception, and my love for peaches and nectarines grew exponentially. Fresh fruit is awesome. And, of course, there were dates (which I could actually stomach, surprisingly. Not a fan, but they were okay fee il-maghreb).
- Juice: bought on the street, orange juice is superlatively fresh and amazing–I’d buy a juicer if oranges weren’t so inefficient (it takes quite a few to get a decent amount of juice). Avocado, date, and banana juices are closer to what Westerners would consider smoothies, but they’re also quite palatable. While we’re on the subject, yoghurt is quite good there and is found in drinkable form (like a thick smoothie).
- Harira: at touristy restaurants, harira is often listed simply as “Moroccan Soup.” It’s kind of like egg-drop soup, but with a tomato base, onions, and occasionally meat or noodles.
- Tajine: stews cooked in traditional conical dishes, made with meat, potatoes, cabbage, peppers, carrots, chickpeas, normal peas…These are eaten with hands and bread rather than silverware, and I MISS THEM.
- Tea: discussed in a previous entry, mint tea is the Morrocan’s answer to everything. Though it’s basically just sweetened green tea with mint, the preparation and ratios are incredibly important. As one of my good friends from this trip just discovered, it’s harder to make good mint tea than one would imagine.
Subscriber challenge: eat some Moroccan food this week. Either scope out a Moroccan cafe in your area, or try your hand at making something. Tell me how it goes!