Travel is surely a great experience, but no trip is ever complete without having the chance to enjoy local food. Every country or region has its specific recipes, some are world famous but some are known by only a handful of travelers. Destinations well known among tourists, usually see their dishes and recipes gain fame, either through mouth to ear, or specialty restaurants abroad. For instance, Moroccan Recipes are among of the most famous. Many people have tasted or heard about The Moroccan Couscous. And every vissitor has surely had the time to eat Moroccan Tagine.
But touristy places tend to be tailored to attract more clients and therefore, trendy restaurants are more likely to lose some of their authenticity, have menus designed and refined more towards foreign cultures and are usually overpriced. I’ve always found it weird and really outrageous, that some of the most famous and most delicious Moroccan recipes are not served to visitors. So here, i put together a list of my favorite Moroccan recipes that are missing in restaurants.
Famous Moroccan Recipes
The name Tagine is for the pot in which the food is cooked. Tagines can vary in matter of ingredients and how they are prepared. Each Moroccan region has its own way of preparing slow cooked Tagines. There are kinds that became famous and can be found almost anywhere in the country, like Lamb and Prune Tagine with Cinnamon, or Chicken Tagine with Lemon and Olives.
It depends on the person and This recipe is very open for imagination, creativity and experimentation. As anyone can combine different ingredients and spices and try to mix things up, to discover how the final meal will turn out. The best way to prepare it in my opinion is to slow cook over charcoal or wood fire. It magically adds a special tastiness to the mix. A must try in every visit to Morocco.
Oh the famous Couscous, this recipe traveled across the globe and can be found in many countries either because of numerous Moroccan expatriates, or because of exported ingredients through world trade. Years before, couscous was a time consuming meal to prepare. Women used to make the grains from wheat, and spend hours working them into the desired tiny shape and then the broth is made. Now the industry made the grains available and couscous became both famous and easily made.
Couscous also grew famous among vegetarians, because they can easily exclude the meat from the ingredients and make a veggie based Couscous salad. In Morocco, many versions of this recipe are prepared depending on the region. Some make it with veggies and some with just caramelized onions and raisins.
Less Famous Moroccan Recipes
This is one of my favorite recipes, i ask for it whenever i’m home and never get tired of eating this pure traditional Moroccan goodness. Rfissa is made of shredded Moroccan crepes called Msemen. The crepes unlike the French ones are salty and pan baked with a little oil. Once the crepes are done, they are shredded into little pieces. Then they are laid down and watered with a special broth, made with chicken, lentils, onions and a set of spices, boiled eggs are usually added on top for decoration. This recipe is almost never found in restaurants neither in Morocco or abroad. Visitors who are lucky enough, can enjoy this tasty meal when invited to a Moroccan house or can have it made on order. It worths the extra effort that can be made for it.
The Muslim holiday of Aid Al Adha, is a known religious day where people feast on the sacrificed cheep. Along with the holiday come many special recipes that are in general only made during the feast. Boulfaf is a famous one of them. Although traditions and customs are different from region to another in the country. This recipe is almost found on every Moroccan table during this celebration. It mainly consists of grilled sheep or cow liver and lungs, cut into little cubed pieces rolled in some fat and then barbecued until the fat is almost melted and the liver or lung pieces are entirely done. Finally it is seasoned with salt and cumin and served during lunch of sacrifice day. I personally prefer the ones prepared with liver pieces. This type of barbecued meat is never found in restaurants but it’s a must for Moroccans during Aid Al Adha holidays. You can give it a try if you visit during that time of year.
Another Feast holiday related recipe is Mrouzia, but unlike Boulfaf, only some regions in Morocco make this meal. While on holiday, i spend some days at home and i never leave before tasting this wonderful recipe. It is prepared with lamb meat, mostly meaty vertebrae bones cooked with a mix of salty and sweet thick sauce. This mix of different tastes if what makes this recipe both delicious and hard to prepare as the tastes need to be balanced, but thanks to my Mom who is a wonderful cook, we always have a perfect Mrouzia. The cooked meat and sauce is topped with sautéed almonds, caramelized prunes or apricots and cinnamon sticks. I would say never leave Morocco before trying this mouthwatering meal.
Bestilla has always been a coveted Moroccan delicacy, i personally don’t know anyone who doesn’t like this particular recipe. It is considered by some as a fancy meal because it is served mostly in weddings. And it’s kind of expensive by local standards. We’ve had it many times in the office where i work, we share it as lunch and its big size always suffices a serving of many people. Seafood Bestilla as its name indicates, is one of the best Moroccan recipes, prepared with partially cooked or cooked seafood, including skid rings, shrimp, crabs, you name it. Seafood is then mixed with Chinese chilly noodles and olives and different spices and then put into a form of leafy pastry and wrapped into a big pie. The whole thing is then baked in the oven. This kind of Bestilla, unlike the one made with chicken, is not sweet but rather spicy and has a kick of chilliness. If well made this recipe is an absolute delight. Unfortunately, it is not found in most restaurants and even the ones who have it, need a pre-order to make it. You can also order it from establishments who specialize in wedding food.
Lamb/Beef Tagine with Artichoke and Green Peas
This one is obviously a Tagine but not all tagines are alike. This one is special because the ingredients needed for it, are only available during a particular period of the year. In Morocco, green peas and artichokes are only available in late winter and the beginning of spring. These two ingredients make a tasty dish when mixed together, this simple fact makes this dish a special one for me. Combined with lamb or beef fine meat and different Moroccan spices and tasty local olives, this tagine is a personal favorite of mine. And i recommend for everyone to try it while visiting the land of incredible Tagines.
Seffa with Chicken
Seffa is one of most popular Moroccan recipes. Locals prepare it in family gatherings or even in weddings or special occasions. It is mostly made with a kind of noodles made locally. These noodles are steam cooked in a special pot where the chicken and the rest of the ingredients are cooked with spices in the lower compartment, and the noodles are steamed in the top compartment through little holes letting the hot steam in. This recipe is served with the chicken buried under the soft Seffa and topped with prunes and almonds, sometimes it’s topped with mixed sugar and cinnamon powder and crushed almonds. This one is an especially tasty and filling dish.
This is a list of some of the Moroccan Recipes not available in most restaurants. There are many other dishes that are equally awesome. All foods in this list are ones i wouldn’t miss to eat if i have the chance. And i invite you to try them as well.
Do You know any Awesome and little known food in Morocco or anywhere else ? Let me know what you think and share your thoughts ?
Show some love and share this article with your friends !!