Well, well! We know we’ve been away for a while but that’s just because we were traveling a lot and returned home with tons of pictures that need to be reviewed, selected and retouched. So bear with us, as we’re slowly getting back on track. We have plenty of cooking ideas and awesome new recipes ready to be tasted and photographed.
But in the meanwhile, let us share a bit of our Moroccan cuisine experience! Yes, that’s right! We were in for something new, an exotic destination with exotic spices and pretty much exotic everything.
We definitely recommend this place! It’s an amazing experience to wander the old streets of the medinas ( the old part of the town ), through the chaos of the noise, smells and activities, through the fruit stands, the spice bags, the live chickens, through the beautiful architecture. We discovered lots of workshops with amazing products and we even lost track of time in one that specialized in spices and oils, while the owner was explaining to us and showing us all the products and the ways they could be used, from cooking to cosmetics to medicine.
Morocco has a very interesting cuisine, based mostly on the use of a specific ingredient – a mixture of spices – called Ras El Hanout. It’s a mix of around 30 ingredients, including turmeric and cardamom and I personally find it very similar to the Indian mixture of Garam masala. A local young man from a spice shop told us that it’s the ingredient used by women who don’t know how to cook, because whatever the conditions, it will turn a regular dish into a spectacular one! Was it just a joke to make his clients laugh and buy or should there be a grain of truth?
The truth is that Ras El Hanout has a very special and powerful taste. It was something new for us and awesome to experience, but after a while it became hard to have the same taste in every dish we ordered, twice every day (lunch & dinner). And as it always happens, now we’re missing it and we’re really thinking to make it a challenge to try to create it in our homes.
Through the week we spent in Morocco, we had different tajines, couscous, lentil soup, kefta (a sort of tajine with meatballs), skewers, veggie salads, traditional bread and “gazelle horns” (a very popular type of pastry, crescent-shaped), plus tons of orange juice and berber whiskey (which is MINT TEA actually). Long story short, we loved tajine and would prefer it to the couscous!
The salads and the fruits were incredibly refreshing and you could sense the vegetables and the fruits as being purely natural. In Fez, I had the best peach of my life: sweet, juicy, fresh, natural, bought right from an old men with his little fruit stand! The sweets were also amazing, but a bit too sweet for our taste – so just one at a time was enough. It was, however, a real enjoyment to watch baker men really passionate about their jobs, carefully pouring honey over the piles of sweet pastries.
Anyway, we find tajine to be the most respresentative and traditional! It can be served in various ways and with different types of meats or vegan. Also, there’s a special type of pot – ceramic or metallic – that you have to use to obtain the right flavour. We always ordered tajine and loved each and one of them, be it at the cheap street restaurants in Marrakesh or at expensive touristy locations.
Our next challenge (related to the Ras El Hanout one): cook tajine at home and see how it turns out!
Quick tip: You can negotiate the menu a little bit, especially if you return at the same restaurant as a customer. Or maybe just get a drink included. It’s not much, but makes you feel proud of your negotiating skills. However, food is really cheap in Morocco, so if you do negociate, do it with common sense!
Have you been to Morocco? Would love to hear your thoughts and experience!