Moroccan cuisine: 5 recipes to get started

Direction Morocco. It’s hard not to think of the colorful dishes delicately placed in the bottom of a tagine served piping hot. You should know that tagine refers to both the culinary preparation of stewed meat or vegetables but also the container used to make it. As an authentic tagine of Moroccan cuisine, we find the Tajin agneau of Pruneau. The dish is placed directly in the center of the table to be shared by all the guests. For the more daring and to respect custom, we take a piece of bread and dip it directly in the tagine placed in the center. Still on the sweet and savory side, we continue the culinary journey with the traditional pastilla with chicken, almond, cinnamon and icing sugar. Originally, it is made from pigeon and not chicken. You will have understood, spices are very present in Moroccan gastronomy. “ rfissa » is a traditional Moroccan dish, also called “ trid » made from chicken, msemens », (Maghrebi flaky pancakes), with a broth of onions, spices and fenugreek, as well as lentils. This specialty is often prepared for holiday meals but also for mothers who have just given birth. And for good reason, there is fenugreek among the ingredients which is known to stimulate lactation during breastfeeding. As an emblematic dish of the culture, it is impossible not to mention the “ harira », traditional soup that Moroccans eat in summer and winter and even for breakfast. In Morocco, dishes often follow a starter composed of several dishes such as “ zaalouk » made from eggplant, “ chlada » made from cucumber, tomatoes, coriander and candied lemon but also “ tektouka », pepper dip with tomatoes grilled directly on the gas for a smoky taste to die for. To end the meal in style, you guessed it, we serve (Moroccan style) a properly sweetened mint tea.

With candied lemon…

Candied lemon is widely used in Moroccan cuisine and for good reason, it goes perfectly with spices. When the spices and meat are simmering, it is very nice to throw in a few slices of preserved lemon so that the sauce can absorb its flavor. You can also add it at the end when dressing to eat it as it is and fully enjoy its taste.

We make a candied lemon and olive chicken in a casserole

Chicken with olives and candied lemon is very popular in Morocco. It is also served for special occasions such as weddings or baptisms. In addition to the taste, what matters is also the dressing. This is a dish that deserves to be served well. It is always eaten accompanied by “ khobz » in other words, North African bread made from fine semolina. To make chicken with olives and candied lemon, you need for 4 people: 1 chicken, 3 tbsp. tablespoons of olive and sunflower oil, 1 onion, 1 bunch of parsley and coriander, 4 candied lemons, 250 g of purple or lemon olives, saffron and 1 tbsp. of ras el-hanout.

Start by cutting the chicken into eight pieces and putting it in a casserole dish with the two oils. Then roughly chop the onion. Chop half of the onion and the parsley in an electric chopper, then the other half of the onion and the coriander. Cut the candied lemons into small pieces. Add the chopped herbs and onions, candied lemon, saffron, ras el-hanout, salt and pepper to the chicken. Mix. Leave to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. 15 minutes before the end of cooking, add the olives. Serve hot with homemade fries on top of the chicken.

© Nathalie Carnet

Discover the recipe for candied lemon and olive chicken in a casserole dish

With cumin…

Spices and Moroccan cuisine are much more than a love story. Moroccans use cumin everywhere, like salt. They put it on meat, eggplant or grilled peppers, eggs in the morning, the traditional soup “ harira » or many other vegetables. Cumin is full of minerals such as iron, magnesium or calcium and has antidiabetic properties. They also use it as medicine on an empty stomach in the morning.

We make a grilled pepper salad

Roasted pepper salad can be eaten cold or hot. It accompanies grilled meats or is eaten with bread. For 6 people, you need: 4 green and red peppers, 2 ripe tomatoes, garlic, 6 pinches of cumin powder, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and lemon juice, and “ khobz ” warm.

Cook the peppers in the oven under the grill for about 20 minutes, turning them often, until their skin is burnt. Let them cool, peel them and cut the pulp into thin strips, discarding the seeds. Scald the tomatoes, cool them, peel them and chop the pulp. Put the chopped garlic, cumin, oil and lemon juice in a bowl. Add the peppers and tomatoes. Salt, pepper, mix. Cover and refrigerate this salad for at least 1 hour before serving with lemon wedges and bread.

Grilled peppers salad


Discover the grilled pepper salad recipe

With semolina…

Semolina is also one of the bases of Moroccan preparations. Fine, medium or large, it all depends on the preparations. For the couscous, use coarse-grained semolina. Conversely, to make bread or “ msemens », Maghreb pancakes, you absolutely need fine semolina.

We make “baghrirs” with semolina

You probably know the “ baghrirs » under the name “thousand hole crepe”. Just like the “ msemens “, THE ” baghrirs » are on every table for snack or breakfast in Morocco. They are eaten with honey, butter, jam or amlou, a Berber spread made from almonds, argan oil, and honey. For 2 people, you need: 37 cl of cold water, 1 sachet of dehydrated baker’s yeast, 220 g of fine semolina, 25 g of flour, 10 g of powdered sugar, 1 sachet of baking powder, butter and Honey.

Start by pouring the water and baker’s yeast into the blender bowl. Add the semolina, flour, sugar and 2 pinches of salt. Mix for 3 to 4 minutes to obtain a smooth paste. Leave to rest for 15 minutes. Bubbles should form. Add the baking powder and mix for 30 seconds. Heat a skillet over medium to high heat. Butter it lightly. Pour a small ladle of batter and cook the “ baghrirs » on one side only, until holes appear. All you have to do is enjoy it hot with honey and butter.


© Valéry Guedes

Discover the recipe for baghrirs with semolina

With brick sheets

With simple sheets of pastry, you can do wonders. These thin crispy leaves enhance our stuffings. From tuna bricks to chicken pastillas, everyone agrees. In samosas or cigars, they can also be eaten in all forms.

We make duck pastillas with dried fruits

Pastilla is a classic of the country’s gastronomy. It can be made individually or shared in the center of the table. We appreciate it for its sweet and sour taste, its crispness and its finesse in the mouth. It is often prepared when we receive. To make duck pastillas with dried fruits for 6 people, you need: 2 duck legs, 100 g of prunes and dried apricots, 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil, 1 white onion, 5 g of cumin seeds, 3 cinnamon sticks, 50 g of acacia honey, 30 g of cider vinegar, 50 g of unsalted butter, 1 packet of pastry sheets. The recipe is simple, but take care of the folding which can be more complicated.

In a casserole dish, heat the oil and brown the duck legs. Cut the prunes, onion and apricots into strips. Remove the duck legs from the casserole. Sweat the onion in the cooking juices of the meat. Add the prunes, apricots, cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks and honey. Caramelize. Deglaze with cider vinegar. Cover the casserole and bake for 4 hours. Shred the cooked meat and mix it with the cooked fruit. Melt the butter and brush the pastry sheets with it. Spread the duck meat confit in the center. Close the pastry sheets by folding the edges towards the center so as to fully enclose the stuffing. Fry the pastillas in the pan with a little oil for 3 minutes on each side, starting with the folded side. Time for tasting.


© Laurent Moynat

Discover the recipe for duck pastillas with dried fruits

With lamb…

Lamb is the meat most used in tagines or Moroccan preparations because it has a stronger taste and adds more flavor to the dishes. In ” tanjia », skewers or tagines, Moroccans love it. THE ” Tanjia Marrakchia » is a specialty of Marrakech. It is a delicious dish prepared with meat, lemon, but also many spices. Slowly simmered in a tanjia (a kind of deep tagine), it offers very tender meat. Today, we opt instead for a “ harira » with lamb.

We make a “harira” soup

There ” harira » is a soup that is essential to Moroccans all seasons of the year. It is a complete meal which can be accompanied by “ maakouda ”, spicy potato fritters or “ boureks » with minced meat. It is eaten as well for breakfast as at snack time or dinner. For 4 people, you need: 250 g of diced lamb shoulder, 80 cl of water, 2 onions, 1 clove of garlic, 1 stalk of celery, 400 g of tomato pulp, 2 teaspoon(s) soup of tomato paste, 1 can of lentils, cooked chickpeas, 100 g of vermicelli, 2 tablespoon(s) of oil, parsley, coriander, celery leaves and lemon juice. For spices, you will need 1 teaspoon of cumin, paprika, ras el hanout and 1/2 teaspoon of ginger. It is very simple. To start, brown in 2 tbsp. tablespoon of oil, 250 g of diced lamb, 2 onions, 1 clove of garlic, 1 stalk of diced celery. Pour 400 g of tomato pulp, 2 tbsp. tablespoons of tomato paste, 80 cl of water, 1 tbsp. of cumin, 1 tbsp. paprika, 1/2 tsp. teaspoon of ginger, 1 tbsp. teaspoon of ras el hanout, salt, pepper. Leave to simmer for 30 minutes. Add 1 can of drained lentils, 1 can of cooked chickpeas and 100 g of vermicelli. Leave to cook for 6 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, coriander, chopped celery leaves, and season with lemon juice.

Harira soup

© Edouard Sicot

Discover the recipe for harira soup

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