On the northwest coast of Africa, only 14km from Spain at its closest point (the Strait of Gibraltar), Morocco is the gateway between Europe and Africa. With the Sahara Desert to the south, Atlantic Ocean to the west, Mediterranean Sea to the north and a long history of trade and conquest, its cooking reflects its diverse history and geography.
Phoenician and Greek traders are said to have planted the first olive trees nearly 3,000 years ago. Next came the Romans, followed by Arabs, Turks, Jews, French and Spanish, all of whom left their influences on the cuisine of the native Berbers. A long stretch of Atlantic coastline means seafood is abundant, and inland rivers provide freshwater fish. Typically, seafood is prepared in a tagine (the name for both the earthenware cooking vessel and the resulting dish, a type of braise or stew), it’s often marinated in chermoula (a spicy herb paste) and sometimes fried or stuffed.
Common Moroccan ingredients include:
Food is always served in abundant quantities as the tradition of hospitality and extended family life guarantees large numbers at the table. It is typically eaten with three fingers of the right hand or scooped up with bread. Being a Muslim country, alcohol is not consumed, instead mint tea often accompanies meals.
Chermoula is a spicy North African marinade which marries well with oily fish.
Orange salad makes a delicious accompaniment to this Middle Eastern dish.
Stargazer are a bottom-dwelling fish that partially bury themselves in sand or mud, with their...
Spanish Mackerel works well with the acidity in this dish.
Skate is a type of Ray, with roughly diamond-shaped side flaps (also called wings) attached to a...
Mullet is an inexpensive fish, high in healthy omega-3 oils. Bold flavoured marinades such as...
This garlic sauce is delicious with any sort of seafood, meat or vegetables.
Tagines are both a finished dish and the vessel in which the dish is prepared.
Barbecue, stir-fry or pan-fry...