Moroccan cuisine truly reflects a spectrum of regional and international flavors. It begins with the nation's own Berber heritage, but also showcases the flavors and spices of long-time alliances and trading partners from the Mediterranean and Arabic cultures, with just a touch of influence from Europe, which is only eight miles away across the Strait of Gibraltar. Moroccan dishes are known to incorporate a wide range of meats and proteins, including beef, goat, lamb, mutton, chicken and seafood, but it's really the common spices in Moroccan food that give those dishes their soulful, memorable notes.
If you're looking to incorporate a little more of Morocco into your own dishes, here are the hallmarks of authentic Moroccan cuisine.
Cinnamon is a staple of Moroccan cuisine, and is easily recognizable to most palettes and is versatile enough for use in both sweet and savory dishes.
Cumin is a very fragrant spice that comes from the fruit of a plant in the same family as parsley. The spice is slightly bitter to taste and is a common ingredient in curry and chili powders.
Ginger is a very aromatic root that adds zest to a number of Moroccan dishes. When selecting ginger, look for lighter varieties, as darker roots indicate age. Ginger can be used fresh or in dried form.
Paprika is a vibrant, smoky red dried spice made from sweet or spicy peppers. The most common pepper used is the sweet red pepper.
Saffron is a spice harvested from the threads of the Crocus sativus and is the single most expensive food item on the planet - far more expensive than truffles or caviar. It is known for a rich golden color and a honey-tinged, earthy flavor.
Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that has been used to add vibrant color to Moroccan dishes, but its use isn't merely cosmetic. It brings an earthy bitterness to the dishes it enlivens.
Ras El Hanout
Ras El Hanout is not one spice, but a cultural blend of Moroccan spices that translated loosely means "best of the shop" and highlights some of the greatest flavors of Morocco, including anise, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, turmeric and a variety of peppers.
Looking for more information on the authentic spices and flavors of Morocco? Be sure to contact us or make a reservation today!