Marrakech is one of the major cities of Morocco, located in the central-southern region. It is home to one of the busiest squares in the Arab world: Jemaa El Fna, the heart of trade, the meeting of cultures and, of course, the cuisine.
In the markets of Marrakech and in the restaurants is a riot of colorful spices and intense scents, Moroccan cuisine is an experience made of strong and simple flavors at the same time. And a trip to Marrakech must absolutely include a tour to discover its gastronomic traditions!
During our 3 days tour from Marrakech to Merzouga, we enjoyed very tasty food! Let’s discover together 10 things to eat in Marrakech, Morocco.
1 – Tanija:
This recipe is the typical dish of Marrakech, and hides a legend: it is said in fact that it was born from a quarrel between husband and wife, during which the wife accused the husband of not even being able to cook something, so he could not stay without her. The husband, in response, put some ingredients in the terracotta jar (called, precisely, tanja) and took it to cook in the ashes of the wood oven that heats the Moroccan hammam (a spa complex). Thus was born this dish made with lamb, cumin, saffron, butter, oil, and candied lemon.
2 – Couscous:
Even if Morocco is not the only couscous, you cannot go to Marrakech and not eat it, because it is really the symbol of this country. Couscous is obtained by finely working semolina and water, until obtaining a grainy mixture which is served together with vegetables, among which stand out first of all onion and garlic, but also tomatoes, zucchini, chickpeas, and the famous compound of 30 nonspicy spices called Ras el Hanout.
Of course the versions of couscous are endless and can also include lamb or chicken, but always cooked in the special earthenware couscous pot.
3 – Baghrir:
If you think that, with all the use of spices and meat, there are no sweets in Moroccan cuisine, you will soon change your mind. Baghrir is the Moroccan breakfast par excellence: they are a cross between crepes and pancakes, having on their surface many small holes ideal to “collect” honey and jam.
Made very simply with flour, semolina, water, and yeast, Baghrir is usually served with orange juice or Moroccan tea, a very tasty breakfast.
4 – Tajine:
To say Tajine, in reality, means to refer to many different dishes. Tajine is, in fact, the name of the typical cone-shaped earthenware container in which the dish, usually, meat-based is cooked, slowly and over low heat, in a sauce of spices, vegetables, dried fruits, and cooking liquid of the meat which makes it very tender and juicy.
The iconic tajine of Morocco is surely the one made of lamb, almonds, and plums, with a sweet and intense taste. Another version with lamb involves tomatoes and onions, or, again, zucchini and mint.
But there is also the tajine made of chicken, lemon, and olives: every restaurant will offer you variants to discover.
5 – Mèchoui:
It is lamb meat and is most easily found for sale at the many stalls in the Mèchoui alley (yes, it has a street all to itself), north of the famous Jemaa El Fna square.
Strictly recommended for lamb lovers only, Mèchoui is a street food consisting of roasted lamb meat served with bread, cumin, and salt. You can order a rub (a slice of 250 grams) or a nuss (500 grams). Once you enter the street, The intense aroma of the roast can only charm you and stimulate your appetite.
6 – Harira:
It is the Moroccan soup symbol of Ramadan: in fact, it is cooked every 30 days, so long the Muslim Ramadan lasts.
It is a soup made of different meats, spices, legumes, vegetables, but, as with every traditional dish, everyone cooks it as he or she believes, with the typical family recipes, so you will never eat a harira soup the same as another one. Certainly, the element which all soups have in common is the intense taste given by the mix of spices that pervade Moroccan cooking. Because of the variety of ingredients, it constitutes a unique dish.
7 – Pastilla:
A real treat for those who love those particular dishes, far from our traditions, which combine sweet and savory flavors.
It is a thin puff pastry, sautéed very quickly in butter, filled with: meat, onions, almonds, cinnamon, saffron, coriander, all served with powdered sugar. The meat is usually chicken or pigeon. So, in case you want to avoid the latter, always ask what are the ingredients.
8 – Katban:
For a change, a meat dish. As you may have guessed, Moroccan cuisine has many lamb specialties.
You can enjoy this skewer at the street food stalls of the markets in Marrakech. Before being skewered, the pieces of meat are marinated for a long time in a sauce made of paprika, onions, parsley, salt, cumin, and oil, giving it a strong and spicy taste, very tasty.
9 – Gazelle horns:
The desserts you can find in Marrakech are really many and very good. These are small stuffed sweets that are usually served in riads as a sign of welcome along with the traditional mint tea.
They are made with a stuffed pastry in the shape of gazelle horns. Inside there is a base of chopped almonds, a very important ingredient in Moroccan cuisine, hazelnuts, cinnamon, and orange blossom, and they are very sweet and delicate.
10 – Briouats:
We conclude this tour with another typical street food dish, of which Moroccan cuisine literally abounds.
They are triangle-shaped rolls of very thin puff pastry, the so-called Warka, filled with meat or fish, or even rice. The same Warka, actually, on sale in the souks (markets) of Marrakech, is also sold stuffed with sweets and dried fruit. So the advice is: wander around the stalls, smell and taste everything!