It’s hard not to get charmed by Moroccan cuisine, because its main feature is using a big variety and amount of spices and herbs. Of course there’s no pork in Morocco. And all the meat across country is halal. The most popular types of meat are lamb, beef, chicken and turkey. For those who like to taste unusual kinds of meat Moroccans can offer goat, camel and pigeon (squab) meat.
Morocco has never been a part of the Ottoman Empire. It means that Turkish cuisine didn’t influence Moroccan traditions, so one shouldn’t await baklava and stuffed vegetables from Moroccan cuisine. It is another unique and authentic experience.
Moroccans prefer to cook on their own and to eat at home together with friends and family. Traditionally Moroccans sit on the floor around a low table. Citizens that have no oven use a public one (named ferran).
Moroccan dinner consists of a soup, a salad (made of fresh or boiled vegetables), tagine or couscous and fresh or dried fruits as a dessert. Dinner is served with traditional khobz bread. A dinner party is usually a feast with a variety of dishes.
A supper in Morocco is less nourishing than a dinner. Usually it is a nutritious soup sometimes with a salad. Soup can be replaced with tagine or couscous.
In most of the restaurants across Morocco if one orders a main course, one will receive a lot of complimentary dishes. The most common compliments are: harissa olives, some bread, a salad, harira soup, dates, sliced orange and chebakkia cookies. That’s why one should avoid ordering several dishes at once.
There are also restaurants combined with butcher shops – you choose a piece of fresh meat and it is immediately cooked for you.
Dishes for special events (like wedding etc):
- mruziya – tajine with lamb, prunes and raisins;
- t’faya – stewed lamb with almonds;
- mechoui – a spit-roasted whole lamb;
- pastilla – a pie made of filo dough, chicken and almonds;
- m’hammar chicken – fried chicken tajine with paprika powder, often served on a wedding party after pastilla.
Gluten free diet in Morocco
It’s quite difficult to find gluten free food in Morocco. Different types of bread, flatbread and pancakes are served in restaurants and hotels to every meal. And wheat flour is used to make soups or sauces thicker. Favorite Moroccan couscous is wheat itself.
The hardest part of trip would be a breakfast – it is included in the price of room in many hotels. Prepare that you will be surrounded with kind-hearted owners that never heard about celiac disease. But they will care about your hunger trying to make you eat some of their tasty high-gluten dishes.
You should also exclude kefta from your meal – wheat flour may be added to minced meat to make kefta softer. If you suffer from severe form of celiac disease, Moroccan inshallah may cause you many problems. F.e. paprika powder may be produced on a factory next to grain processing. In restaurants kitchen may happen anything. Be careful ordering something in a café/restaurant or buying a medicine.
In big cities (like Casablanca, Marrakesh, Tangier, Rabat, Kenitra etc) there are a few restaurants and bakeries that offer gluten free menu. In some hypermarkets you may find some gluten free flour but it will cost a lot.