10 Surprising Facts About Moroccan Food

Morocco’s cuisine isn’t something you hear much about, but it’s definitely worth exploring. From its ancient Berber roots, to its later influences from the Arabs and Europeans, to its modern popularity with tourists, the food of Morocco has evolved over the centuries into something uniquely delicious. Here are 10 surprising facts about Moroccan food that will get you ready to experience this amazing culinary culture for yourself.

1) Morocco Is The Epitome Of A Culinary Desert

Few countries have the natural resources to eat a healthy diet. Morocco is no exception. All the nutrients, minerals, and vitamins we need to stay healthy come from what we eat, but in most countries, these are hard to come by. In Morocco, this isn’t much of an issue because they have so many different kinds of foods that allow them to get all their nutrients and minerals through diet alone.

2) Moroccan Cuisine Is a Concoction Of Ancient Influences

The cuisine of Morocco is a concoction of influences from the world over: Arabic, African, Turkish and Berber. Traditionally eaten with one’s hand as it is so commonly found in Arab countries, Moroccans like to use their hands to pinch up small morsels of couscous or vegetables and roll them into bite-size balls.

3) Diversity Is Key To Moroccan Cooking

Moroccan food is typically associated with strong spices and hot pepper, which help enhance the flavor of what can be a bland dish. Cumin is also a very important part of the diet because it’s used in just about every dish imaginable. What many people don’t know, however, is that there are some significant differences in how meat and vegetables are prepared between North African countries like Morocco and Algeria on one side and Egypt on the other. Some dishes have different names based on which country they’re eaten in.

4) Flatbread Is The Main Dish

You may think the main dish would be Couscous, but it is actually the flatbread called Khobz. It is sometimes served as a snack, dipped in honey and sesame seeds. The bread itself is made of just four ingredients: flour, water, yeast and salt.

5) Lamb Has Always Been King In Morocco

Throughout the world, one of the most common names for meat is lamb and that’s no exception in Morocco. The lamb industry is booming and sheep are considered a staple in the cuisine. Sheep milk is also an important part of their culture as it’s made into yogurt and cheese.
Nowadays you can find North African cuisine in most big cities, so if you want to try some don’t be afraid to order some lamb or beef at your next takeout!

6) There Are Hundreds of Recipes For Couscous

There are hundreds of recipes for couscous, which is the basis for many dishes in Moroccan cuisine. It is a versatile dish and can be served as an accompaniment to stews, tagines, and grilled meats. Moroccans typically eat with their hands as a gesture of hospitality–a dish for one person will be passed around the table until each person has taken some. This means that hand washing before eating is necessary.

7) Moroccans Love Their Berber Tea

Moroccans drink a lot of Berber tea–about 16 liters per person per year, or two cups per day. They consider the hot beverage to be a way of life and use it to mark nearly every moment, from welcoming visitors in the morning, to finishing each meal with family.

8) Mint Marks many Important Moroccan Dishes

One thing that makes many dishes in Morocco special is their trademark spice called mint. It’s one of the most important spices when cooking, and it’s often paired with cumin and parsley to create the Moroccan spice blend, Berber. A popular dish in Morocco called pastilla, which consists of chicken and almonds, gets a lot of its taste from a paste made from mixing ground cinnamon with chopped onions, turmeric and fresh or dried mint leaves.

9) Mango Juice is Also an Important Part Of Moroccan Life

Mango juice is also an important part of Moroccan life. Nearly every coffee shop in Morocco will have a small fridge with mango juice. You can order it by the glass or pitcher. Mango juice mixed with milk is also a popular drink, known as Almaza.

10) Butter is Widely Used In Moroccan Cooking

Moroccan food is just as diverse as it is delicious, and everything from the staples to desserts are equally scrumptious. But what you may not know is that butter is a staple in many Moroccan dishes. The Moroccans use butter in a wide variety of dishes-everything from sambousa to kefta. Butter even shows up in desserts like knafa or bsamiyya, butterscotch for the latter.

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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

I have 26 years of experience as a professional writer and editor and have been working as a full-time freelancer since 2011. I am originally from Casablanca, Morocco, and I graduated from Qatar University with a degree in journalism. I have worked for newspapers, magazines, news agencies, and websites. I speak fluent Arabic, French, English, Russian, and Spanish.