By Jessica Russo
You know Morocco for its brightly-colored tilework, ancient cities, and vast deserts - but wait - what do Moroccans eat?
With vegetable stands, spice markets, and street food galore, Moroccan food is some serious business. Do yourself a favor and try these traditional favorites; one might say they'll morock-your-world.
This savory stew is, without a doubt, Morocco's most popular dish. Moroccans make all sorts of tagine - chicken, lamb, beef, fish, veggies - you name it. If you're thinking "what's so special about stew?" you're not wrong, but you definitely won't be asking that question once you try it. It's not just any old "stew;" it's slow-cooked in a traditional clay pot (called a tagine) and dusted with local Moroccan spices. Many Moroccans use "ras el hanout," which is a mixture of ground spices that usually includes cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and others.
During Ramadan, Harira is served to break the fast. You know it must be good if that's the first thing people want to eat after hours without food! Aside from that holy month, Harira is served as a starter and is usually made with tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas, onions, some sort of meat (chicken, lamb, or beef), and of course, Moroccan spices. Go ahead, slurp up some of that savory goodness.
Couscous or "seksu"
This yummy dish has recently spread to the U.S., but there's nothing quite like authentic Moroccan couscous. This fine wheat pasta is usually rolled by hand and is steamed with various meats and vegetables. As a Berber tradition, couscous dishes are usually served with raisins for a lil' sweet kick!
Pastilla or "B'stilla"
Ah pastilla, Moroccans' favorite sweet and savory pastry pie! Originating from the city of Fez, this traditional dish is filled with almonds, eggs, saffron, cinnamon, and - oh yeah - pigeon meat! Yup, you read that correctly. Hey, don't knock it til' ya' try it, right? Most skeptics wind up asking for seconds.
Moroccan Mint Green Tea
Known as "Moroccan whiskey," this sweet mint tea is what locals drink when they need a pick-me-up. Be forewarned: this tea is usually heavily sweetened with sugar chipped off a sugar cone. It's then garnished with a few sprigs of spearment to give it a nice fresh zing.
Okay, so brochettes are basically fancy-named kebabs, but they are delicious. And, you can find them on almost every street corner! Usually lamb or beef, brochettes are doused in Moroccan spices and grilled up to have a rich, smokey flavor. A perfect on-the-go meal while you're perusing through a market!