Moroccan cuisine is a very diverse cuisine because of the influences of many civilizations and cultures that coexisted in Morocco. Moroccan cuisine is a mix of Berber, the first people that lived in Morocco, Arab, Mediterranean, and African influences. Throughout the history Morocco was the doorway between Europe and Africa and the point of interaction of many civilizations. Many experts consider Moroccan cuisine as the culinary star of North Africa and rated it among the best cuisine in the world. There are few places in the world where food is more carefully and artistically prepared, more delightfully served and more enjoyed than in Morocco. Morocco is an agricultural country that produces a wide range of Mediterranean vegetables and fruits. And also produces large quantities of sheep, cattle, poultry, and seafood that serve as a base for the Moroccan cuisine. Agricultural side of morocco influences the Moroccan cuisine that consists of a lot and vegetables and fewer portions of meats.
The spices are used widely in the Moroccan dishes, they are imported to Morocco for thousands of year and some are grown locally such as saffron, mint, oranges, and lemon. moroccan cuisine is characterized by rich spices like cumin, coriander; dried ginger, cinnamon, and paprika are on the cook’s shelf. Also a side dish that open the appetite is called Harissa, a paste of garlic, chilies, olive oil, and salt, makes for spicy dishes that stand out among the milder foods that are more the Mediterranean norm. And there is also Ras El Hanout, which means head of the shop, names a dried spice mixture that combines anywhere from 10 to 100 spices. Each vendor has his own secret recipe, and no two are exactly alike.
Moroccans have three meal Breakfast, lunch, and dinner; Bread is eaten with every meal. The midday meal or the lunch is the main meal, with the exception of the holy Month of Ramadan, The main meal is served around 9 or t10 o`clock of the night, because people were fasting during the day. The typical meal starts with hot or cold salads followed by the main dish; the main dish contains lamb, chicken, beef or fish with vegetables. A cup of sweet Mint tea is usually used to end the meal. If a Moroccan invite you to drink tea with him, don`t refuse his invitation you will disappoint him. In Morocco, tea with mint is a symbol of hospitability and welcoming the guests. Moroccans always wash their hands before start eating the meal because they eat mostly with their hands and use bread as utensil only for couscous some they use spoons.
Couscous is a dish of spherical granules made by rolling and shaping moistened semolina wheat and then coating them with finely ground wheat flour. The finished granules are about one millimeter in diameter before cooking. Different cereals may be used. Traditional couscous requires considerable preparation time and is usually steamed. In many places, a more-processed, quick-cook couscous is available and is particularly valued for its short preparation time. Couscous is traditionally topped with meat and vegetables. It can also be eaten alone, flavored, or plain, warm or cold, or as a dish. Moroccans believe that couscous` origin is morocco. Couscous is popular in Morocco and Northern Africa countries like Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. It is also popular in the west Africa ,France, Spain, and Italy, as well as in Turkey, Greece, Cyprus and most Arabic countries. Couscous is central to Moroccan cuisine and is often cooked with spices, vegetables, nuts, and raisins. It makes a meal in itself or is topped with rich stews and roasted meats. Most family cooked couscous on Fridays as a tradition. Nowadays, couscous is an international dish that you can get in many big restaurants in many parts of the world.
Beef is the most eaten red meat in Morocco, lamb is preferred but it`s not common because of its higher price. Poultry and fish are used more due to their lower price. Among the most famous dishes are Couscous, Tajine, Tanjia, Pastille and Harira. Harira is the most famous soup in Morocco that is eaten extensively with dates in the holy month of Ramadan. Moroccan salads made from raw ingredients and cooked vegetables. The salad could be served either hot or cold such as Zaalouk, eggplant and tomato mixture. Lamb is a principle meat, roasted lamb is cooked until tender enough to be pulled apart and eaten with the fingers. It is often topped with raisin and onion sauces, or even an apricot puree. Meat and fish can be grilled, stewed, or cooked in earthenware called Tagine. Savory foods are enhanced with fruits, dried and fresh apricots, dates, figs, and raisins, to name a few. the lemon preserved in a salt-lemon juice mixture bring a unique face to many Moroccan chicken and pigeon dishes. Nuts are prominent; pine nuts, almonds, and pistachios show up in all sorts of unexpected places. Moroccan sweets are rich and dense confections of cinnamon, almond, and fruit perfumes that are rolled in filed dough, soaked in honey, and stirred into puddings.
Moroccan cuisine is one of the most important cuisines in the Mediterranean cuisine. The civilizations that lived in morocco enrich the diversity of Moroccan cuisine. In Morocco, Most homemade dishes are prepared by women. Moroccan women don`t allow their husbands to be with them in the kitchen they consider it their own private business. The wives stand in the kitchen for long hours to prepare the wonderful dishes especially when there is guest at home. Moroccan people are eager to show their hospitality to their guests. So if you visit Morocco even the poor family will starve to prepare the most famous and finest dishes for you to show you their hospitably. The way of cooking some dishes vary from different cities in Morocco such as Fez, Meknes, Marrakech, Rabat and Tetouan refined Moroccan cuisine over the centuries and created the basis for what is known as Moroccan cuisine today.