|In Morocco, mealtime is a social event. Common
rituals include washing the hands before eating and drinking tea before
and after a meal. Moroccans eat with the fingers of their right hand, taking
food from a shared platter. Before the meal, people give thanks to God
by saying "Bismillah." They say "Al Hamdu Lillah" meaning
"Thank God" at the end of the meal.
|A central ingredient in Moroccan cuisine is
(granular semolina), which is steamed and served with spices, vegetables,
nuts and raisins, and often served with rich spicy stews and roasted meats.
Lamb is the most commonly served meat. Moroccan roasted lamb is so well
cooked that it falls apart easily. Meat and fish are usually grilled, stewed
or cooked for several hours in an earthenware pot with a cone-shaped lid
known as tajine - a name that stands for both the pot and the dish.
Did you know?
in the spice markets of Morocco make special mixtures that contain from
10 to 100 spices. Each vendor uses a secret recipe, and no two are ever
|Dried apricots, dates, figs, raisins, pine nuts,
almonds and pistachios are used in many dishes. Lemons, preserved in a
mixture of lemon juice and salt, add a unique taste to chicken and pigeon
dishes. Spices, such as cumin, coriander, saffron, chilis, dried ginger
and cinnamon also add special flavours. Harissa, a paste of garlic,
chilis, olive oil and salt, makes dishes fiery hot. Desserts may be flavoured
with cinnamon or almonds. Briouat is a pastry made of ground nuts
rolled in phyllo and soaked in honey.
Every rural household makes its own bread
from semolina flour. Before a loaf is sent to the communitys main oven,
the family places its own mark or stamp on the dough to prevent confusion
at the bakery.
|It may take a hostess a full week to prepare a
special meal for guests. Festive meals often have up to five courses. A
full days work can go into the bstilla, thin pastry filled with
chicken mixture. Dinner starts with bstilla, followed by a flavoured
kebab. The tajine is next, served with khubz, a round spongy
bread. The final course is melon and pastries, washed down with a small
glass of mint tea.
In the month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast during
the daylight hours, harira soup may be served in the evening. The
soup contains chunks of lamb, seasoned with various herbs and spices and
thickened with flour and eggs.
3 tbsp black
or green tea (do not use teabags)
fresh mint leaves
(approx. one handful)
125 ml sugar
or to taste
water into a large teapot, rinse and throw water away. Add tea, mint leaves
and sugar. Fill the teapot to the brim with more boiling water. Allow to
steep, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir and taste the liquid to see if it is
sweet enough. Strain into small glasses.