Soups

Moroccan cuisine

Moroccan cuisine is extremely refined, thanks to Morocco's interactions and exchanges with other cultures and nations over the centuries. Moroccan cuisine has been subject to Berber, Moorish, and Arab influences. The cooks in the royal kitchens of Fes, Meknes, Marrakesh, Rabat and Tetouan refined it over the centuries and created the basis for what is known as Moroccan cuisine today. Morocco produces a large range of Mediterranean fruits and vegetables and even some tropical ones. Common meats include beef, mutton and lamb, chicken, camel, rabbit and seafood, which serve as a base for the cuisine. Characteristic flavorings include lemon pickle, cold-pressed, unrefined olive oil and dried fruits. It is also known for being far more heavily spiced than Middle Eastern cuisine. [edit]Spices and other flavorings Spices at central market in Agadir Spices are used extensively in Moroccan food. Although spices have been imported to Morocco for thousands of years, many ingredients, like saffron from Tiliouine, mint and olives from Meknes, and oranges and lemons from Fez, are home-grown. Common spices include karfa (cinnamon), kamoun (cumin), kharkoum (turmeric), skinjbir (ginger), libzar (pepper), tahmira (paprika), anise seed, sesame seeds, qesbour (coriander), and zaafran beldi (saffron). Common herbs include mint and 'ma dnous'(parsley.) [edit]Structure of meals The midday meal is the main meal, except during the holy month of Ramadan. A typical meal begins with a series of hot and cold salads, followed by a tagine. Bread is eaten with every meal. Often, for a formal meal, a lamb or chicken dish is next, followed by couscous topped with meat and vegetables. A cup of sweet mint tea usually ends the meal. Moroccans usually eat with their hands and use bread as a utensil. The consumption of pork and alcohol are considered Haraam, and are prohibited per Muslim dietary restrictions. The main Moroccan Berber dish most people are familiar with is couscous, the old national delicacy. Beef is the most commonly eaten red meat in Morocco. Lamb is also consumed, but as North African sheep breeds store most of their fat in their tails, Moroccan lamb does not have the pungent flavour that Western lamb and mutton have. Poultry is also very common, and the use of seafood is increasing in Moroccan food. Among the most famous Moroccan Berber dishes are Couscous, Pastilla (also spelled Bsteeya or Bestilla), Tajine, Tanjia and Harira. Although the latter is a soup, it is considered as a dish in itself and is served as such or with dates especially during the month of Ramadan. Pork consumption is forbidden in accordance with Sharia, religious laws of Islam.