One of the best parts of the trip was being able to eat authentic, home cooked Moroccan meals everyday. I cannot tell you how obsessed I am with Moroccan food now. Every meal of theirs is so elaborate with so many courses.
The first course starts off with soup, which is generally Harira, a tomato based soup full of herbs, vegetables, and meat. Click here for an authentic Harira recipe. Then for the second course you have a bunch of different mezzes, which are small appetizer-like dishes meant to be eaten with bread usually. My favorite was a popular eggplant puree dish called Za’look and a potato with raisins dish. Click here for the recipe. Of the main highlights were the fresh Moroccan olives soaked in spices overnight that were absolutely to die for!!! I know I’m getting too excited, it’s ok.
Then for the main course, they serve you three main dishes that are brought out in different courses. Just when you think the meal is over and you’ve already overeaten at this point, they bring out four more courses. It was epic. Somehow your stomach makes room for what’s to come because it’s just too good to stop. My favorite dish of the trip was called Lahma belbarqooq, which is a Moroccan tagine with lamb/beef and prunes topped with almonds and sesame seeds. It’s a sweet and savory dish that I just couldn’t get enough of. Click here for the recipe. We ate it with bread of course. Here’s a recipe I found, if you’re interested in making it.
We also had Bastilla, which is a traditional Moroccan chicken pie with almonds, cinnamon, and powdered sugar wrapped in a thin layer of puff pastry. Click here for the recipe. You can tell Moroccans love combining the sweet with savory. An interesting fact that one of the locals shared with me is that many Moroccan dishes are a spin on Syrian dishes. This made a lot of sense because I noticed there were a lot of sweet and savory dishes, which Syrians are known for too.
All main dishes are served in the middle of the table, and everyone eats with their hands and bread. It’s a concept you get comfortable with quickly from how amazing the food is. Something interesting I noticed is that contrary to most Arab dishes that are full of rice; Moroccans do not have many rice dishes. Apparently this is a North African custom, as Libyan, Tunisian, and Algerian foods don’t have a lot of rice dishes either. Moroccans are big on their couscous of course, which is a steamed semolina dish full of veggies and meat. We definitely had plenty of that.
The final course of every meal is always a huge plate over packed with various types of fruit. We had persimmons (my personal fave), pomegranate, bananas, oranges, apples, white and red grapes, and something similar to passion fruit. Then of course comes the Moroccan mint tea that is unlike any tea you’ve ever had, accompanied with delicious mini pastries and sweet delights. They also add lemon verbena (Lueeza in Arabic) with the tea to give it a nice lemony taste.
As for the sweets, my favorite was a fluffly cookie type sweet called Ka’b Al Ghazali, which is full of marzipan (almond paste). My dad always used to bring these home from his trips to Morocco, so it was extra sweet. The goodness just didn’t stop. Moroccans sure do know how to eat mashallah. Ok now I’m hungry!