Spices in Morocco

Spices in Morocco reflect a true love story. Saffron, black pepper, ginger … many spices can be found in almost all specialties because they are so delicious. And destined! We reveal our pick of the 10 most essential spices for preparing your Moroccan recipes and where you can get them quickly and at the best price.

Moroccan cuisine is reputed to be the most gourmet and refined of North African cuisines. Being considered a Mediterranean cuisine, we find among its traditional recipes Arab, Andalusian, Jewish, and even Asian inspirations!

Among them is couscous. It has also been voted the favorite dish of the French: tajines, mechoui, pastilla, harira (spicy soup), Moroccan salad, and traditional Moroccan pastries made with almonds, honey, and of spices. All of these dishes use one or more spices.

Which spices are used most often in Moroccan food?

Cumin or “kamoun”


Cumin is utilized more than any other spice in Moroccan cuisine, making it the dominant flavor profile. A spice mix such as ras-el-hanout typically contains various spices, including cumin. Both the seeds and the powdered form of cumin are available for purchase. Flavorful dishes like tagines and couscous benefit from its addition. Cumin is distinctive compared to other types of spices. Because it imparts a warm, slightly spicy flavor to the meal. It is used to prepare pulses to make them easier to digest. Adding cumin after cooking is your best bet for the most pleasant aroma.

Coriander or “Arabian parsley”


Coriander is a staple ingredient in Moroccan soups, stews, meatballs, and tagines. Fresh coriander has a more subtle flavor than dry or seeded coriander. Therefore it’s the one to go for. Keep in that everyone shares your appreciation for its distinctive flavor.

Ginger or “Chkinjbir”


Fresh ginger is cool, sour, and spicy. To get the juice of it, you can grate it. Some unique qualities are lost when dried and ground into a powder, but it is still attractive in many ways. Both sweet and savory foods go well with it. It would also work to reduce inflammation and burn fat. Some tagines, like the Chicken Tagine with Ginger, have ginger.

Paprika or “Felfla hloua”


Paprika is a type of spice that was first cultivated in Hungary. Paprika is well-liked for its vibrant color and flavor, which is mildly astringent, mildly spicy, and highly fragrant. Paprika is moderately hot. You may use it to give your foods an aromatic and somewhat sour taste without worrying about the heat the chilli would bring. A pepper salad known as fefla is frequently used as an appetizer. It will taste delicious due to the paprika that is in it.

 Black pepper or “Ibzar”

Black pepper

Its aroma shifts somewhat depending on its color, which can be gray, white, or black. Each of these hues can be found. This depends on the type of tree that produces the seed and/or the age of the origin. Pepper is an essential ingredient in virtually every cuisine served in Morocco. You can customize your pepper blend by including some coriander and allspice in the recipe. Because it loses its flavor rapidly in powdered form, you shouldn’t buy pepper. It is expected that natural pepper will come with its own grinder.

Turmeric or “Kharkoum”


Moroccan turmeric is picked and dried in South Asia to keep all its flavors before being ground into a powder in Morocco. This spice is used to color food, change the acidity of some dishes, and add flavor to soups, tagines, and couscous. It has a lot of healing and medical properties, like being anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. It can also treat digestive problems and get rid of gastric acidity.

 Cinnamon or “Karfa”


One can choose between two distinct cinnamons: All-natural cinnamon from Ceylon, which is the best, and China cinnamon, which is darker. Cinnamon is the oldest spice we know of, so some call it the “queen of spices.” Cinnamon might be one of the oldest spices we know of. The first time it was used in a kitchen was at the end of the 12th century. Cinnamon was once only for the rich and elite, but it became more common over time. By the 1600s, it was used in more than half of France’s recipes, probably because it had antiseptic properties. Cinnamon is usually only used in sweet recipes in the West. Still, it is often used in savory dishes in Africa and Asia. On the sweet side, it makes cakes, cookies, some ice creams, and dairy desserts taste better. It is a critical ingredient in savory dishes to decorate and flavor pastilla, tajines, and curry.

Garlic or “Touma”


Although garlic originates from the north of the Asian continent, it fits perfectly into Moroccan cuisine. It enhances the taste of dishes and is said to aid digestion. In Morocco, it is considered by the ancients as “the antibiotic of the poor.” It would be very beneficial for blood circulation. One of the best-known Moroccan garlic recipes is Zaalouk eggplant with garlic and tomato.

Cloves or “Kronfel”


We won’t sugarcoat it: cloves have a persistent, robust flavor. Our favorite part about them. How well they complement the flavors of the other spices with which they are typically combined. They work wonderfully as a fish and rice cooker.

saffron or “Saafrane beldi” 


Let’s finish in style with saffron, a spice worth gold. It exists in two forms; in powder or in filaments. The powder is used for braised meats and the filaments for rice and soups. It gives the dishes a flavor and a typical and much-appreciated color.

Suppose spices are an essential component of Moroccan cuisine. In that case, we also find onions and many aromatic herbs such as thyme, parsley, rosemary, fennel, bay leaves, basil, and oregano.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is garlic used in Moroccan cooking?

Garlic is commonly used in Moroccan cuisine and is considered an essential ingredient in many dishes. It is often used in spice blends such as ras el hanout and chermoula, which are used to flavor tagines, stews, and grilled meats. Garlic is also used in sauces, marinades, and soups. In fact, Moroccan cuisine is known for its bold and complex flavors, and garlic is often used with other aromatic herbs and spices to create these unique flavor combinations.

What are the 4 basic spices used in Moroccan cuisine?

Moroccan cuisine uses four basic spices:

Cumin is used in various dishes, including tagines and stews. It offers a slightly bitter taste and often pairs well with coriander and cinnamon.

Paprika, a mild and sweet seasoning made from dried and ground red peppers, is added to soups, stews, and marinades to provide color and flavor.

Ginger, a flavorful and spicy root, brings warmth and depth of flavor to Moroccan dishes. It is commonly used in spice blends like ras el hanout, as well as in marinades, dressings, and sauces.

Cinnamon, an aromatic and fragrant spice, is used in both sweet and savory dishes, including tagines, stews, pastries, and sweet couscous.

What are the common cooking techniques of Moroccan cuisine?

Moroccan cuisine is renowned for its fragrant and flavorful dishes, traditionally simmered. Among its common cooking techniques:

The tagine, a clay cooking vessel, is used to prepare stews and other dishes. Its conical lid retains steam, infusing the food with flavors.

Couscous, a staple ingredient, is cooked in a couscoussier, where the steam from the meat and vegetables preparation cooks the couscous.

Grilling is often used to cook meats like lamb and poultry, offering a unique flavor, often served with harissa sauce or chermoula.

Slow cooking helps develop rich flavors and tender meat in simmered dishes such as tagines and stews.

Preservation is a widespread practice, where lemons, olives, and vegetables are preserved in salt and spices, giving Moroccan dishes a distinctive flavor, like preserved lemons used in tagines and stews.

Why Moroccan food is the best?

Moroccan cuisine is cherished for its diverse influences, blending Arab, Amazigh, and Mediterranean flavors, thus offering a distinctive taste.

It employs spices such as cumin, coriander, saffron, and cinnamon for robust and aromatic flavor profiles, which are also beneficial for health.

With a wide variety of dishes, from stews to pastries, it caters to all tastes, using fresh and seasonal ingredients that support local agriculture and reduce the carbon footprint of food.

Traditional cooking methods, such as slow cooking and grilling, contribute to the development of rich flavors and tender meat, thus preserving the nutritional value of the dishes.

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