During the first weekend in April, my best friend and I traveled to Morocco! Morocco is located in Northern Africa, just across the Gibraltar Straight from Spain. Since the Islamic invasion of the 7th century AD, Morocco has been a Muslim country so everyone speaks Arabic. The part of the country that we stayed in was very green, full of fertile soil, ideal for all kinds of crops like almonds, olives, dates, lemons, figs, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, melons, oranges, and potatoes. It was nice to be in a country that has their own food, unlike London which, like I said in a previous blog post, is a melting pot of different cuisines. Everything Moroccans need to cook with, they grow within walking distance of the place they plan on cooking it.
Moroccans stew everything and often serve it on couscous. This is a pretty standard meal throughout the country, we learned. Our first meal consisted of a round, flat bread, a delicious salad and then a chicken and chickpea stew served over tasty couscous. Our next meal was essentially the same thing. This meal is called tajine, a lamb or poultry stew. The round bread we ate is traditionally served at every meal. It is delicious. Everything tasted relatively similar because Moroccans typically stick to using the same six or seven spices in their cooking: cumin, saffron, ginger, cinnamon, ground red pepper and coriander. These dishes often have a unique sweet-spicy taste. Saffron makes the stews a dark red color in addition to the flavor they add. Couscous is a staple food. I did not have one Moroccan meal without couscous, which I did not mind because I love the tiny pasta. Dessert is important in Moroccan cuisine as well. We were never denied dessert; however, we found that despite their love of sweets, after dinner or lunch we were always served an apple and a banana on a plate. It was not exactly the dessert we had in mind, but perhaps we needed the nutrients. Of course we usually did not eat either because the water is not safe to drink in Morocco therefore the water they use to wash the fruits is also unsafe. There were many honey-based sweets sold on the streets, though so we were able to get our sugar-fix in that way.
The trip was an incredible one. The landscapes were truly amazing. It was just an added bonus that the food was so good. It tasted exactly like you would imagine a Northern African meal to taste! If you are interested in making tajine or some other Moroccan meals, follow the link above!