Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Taste of Moroccan Cuisine

Feasting the tasteful Turkey and Lamb Tagine
One of the things that enthralled me about Morocco is their delightful cuisine. Moroccan cuisine is a mix of Arab, Berber, Moorish, Mediterranean and Jewish influence. The pungent olive oil mixed with coriander, turmeric, pepper, cumin, saffron and onion give it a unique flavor and scent to our senses. Bread is served all the time at meals and it is common for every household to make its own bread.

At breakfast, Moroccan flat bread Msmen is served with jam and butter. The taste is similar to the Indian flat bread roti canai, but Msmen is softer and tastier. Omelet, olives, buns and fruits are common breakfast items served in restaurants and hotels. Breakfast is very simple but filling enough to give us the needed energy until lunch.

While bread and couscous seem to be the main Moroccan food, we hardly see rice dishes on the menu. Most menus in restaurants are written in French or Arabic (or both) and communication can be real tough in small cities and desert towns where hardly anyone speaks English. Once we ordered orange juice drinks and the waiter came with four plates of orange slices….that’s cool we enjoyed the oranges :).

The Tagine dishes are my favorite Moroccan food and the unique method of cooking gives the distinct flavor and taste. Tagine is a special North African clay pot with heavy flat base and a conical shaped cover. During the slow cooking process, the shape of the cover allows condensation to the base which further tenderizes the meat in the spices. The succulent spicy lamb, beef and chicken are usually combined with olives, apples, pears, apricot, dates with preserved lemons. Meals are always completed with mint tea, fresh fruits and deserts.
Msmen for breakfast
Kefta (Meat ball) and Egg Tagine
Harira served by Berbers in Erg Chebbi
Delicious caramel pudding at Kasbah Ben Moro
Tomatoes and cucumber salad
Potato and Chicken Tagine served by Berbers in the desert

Berber Mason Chicken Couscous Tagine
Oranges with a sprinkle of cumin...delicious

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