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Research Articles

Moroccan culinary art

A rich and diverse culture and history.
By Salah Chakor, Writer, Expert in Hotel Management and Tourism Culinary Advisor

Informed observers who have traveled through the Moroccan regions and who have had the opportunity, through the various encounters, to taste the cuisine of these regions, have certainly been able to discover a certain and very old culinary art. These ways of preparing and presenting food, depending on the circumstances, date back to a distant history, dating back more than 2000 years.

These dishes, both copious and delicious, reveal the pleasure of the palate and comfort the guests who find there a great artistic, gustatory and nutritional diversity. Local Moroccan cuisine is above all ceremonial, because we can distinguish preparations that are served at specific times and in very specific circumstances, in particular: – the festive menu, – the Ramadan Ftour menu, – the wedding menu , engagement,
baptism, – official reception menu…etc., and seasonal menus and various occasions.
This kitchen lacks a written record of its history, despite being old.

Moroccan culinary art has been enriched by the influences of several civilizations from neighboring countries and those who colonized it through ancient times. However we can cite as influence, that of the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, Spaniards, Andalusians, Turks, Portuguese, French and English. What could enrich and diversify it to make it a real mosaic and a
real painting.

But the three major influences that Moroccan cuisine has known remain, in fact, the Arab, Turkish and Andalusian influence. Arabic with regard to the M’qalla, M’hammar and M’Aammar, with regard to the Turkish influence it is noted at the level of the
Méchouis and finally Andalusian for what is M’jammar and for everything else.

This cuisine is refined by the use of sought-after natural spices and herbs. It is also enhanced by the selection of products, by the good presentation and by a spectacular and well-ordered and pleasant service. It also means that it is a
festive and aperitif cuisine.

The Moroccan table is, unlike cuisines: French, Chinese, Turkish, Spanish….reduced to the simplest rules, manners and habits, whose art and design practices vary from region to region, from city to city. other and sometimes
from family to family, making it a true artistic mosaic. These different preparations together constitute an exceptional array of different dishes.
However, it is noted that there are some commonalities across all regions:
it is the service of mint tea, considered as a reception and welcome drink, as an aperitif or digestive drink or as an accompaniment. This hot drink is also served during the 2nd Ftour, between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., with the Batbout: small bread
round slightly raised, the M’semen: wheat flour pancake cooked on a clay dish, the R’ghaif: simple or filled puff pastries, the Baghrir: thick or thin, large or small pancakes drizzled with melted butter and honey; Amlou: whole roasted almond paste,
ground with argan oil and mixed with honey, it also accompanies all kinds of biscuits, cakes, or simply good barley, corn or wheat bread(1).

Moroccan cuisine is remarkably distinguished from other cuisines of the world by its specific, ceremonial dishes, such as couscous, Méchoui, Bastella. These dishes also have differences in the method of preparation, from region to region.
region and from city to city, depending on whether the family is urban, rural, well-to-do or average, and also according to the wealth and availability of agricultural products.

For couscous we observe the difference in the semolina used, which can be wheat, barley (Balboula), or corn (Baddaz), and also in the meat used which can be either chicken or mutton , beef or even fish in the region of Safi and
Casablanca. The vegetables are chosen according to the season, the region and which can also be composed of onions, raisins and chickpeas (Tfaiya).

The Mechoui reveals the difference in the meats used, mutton, goat, beef, chicken and sometimes in the south camel meat.

The Bastella (2), which according to some draws its origin from Mesopotamia, is no exception to the rule of diversity of products used in its manufacture. This difference is noticed in the meats and products that make up the stuffing. We use chicken, pigeon, fish and/or seafood.

The stuffing is generally made up of almonds or cocoa nuggets or a mixture of the two, combined with onion,
parsley and egg as the basis of a stuffing that will be enriched with meat, chicken, pigeon, fish or seafood.

(1) and (2) Morocco of potentialities, Genius of a King and a People, article by Abderrahim Bargach