Even though we can’t travel at the moment, and many of us are suffering the disappointment of cancelled trips, it doesn’t have to stop us from getting creative when it comes to experiencing the world in our own homes. We might be restricted from jumping on a plane and heading off to our dream destination, but oh, we can cook and we can eat…
Live Out Your Travel Dreams in the Kitchen
While nobody’s going to try to tell you that an afternoon in the kitchen is anywhere as exotic as being able to wander around the souks of Marrakech, delving into Morocco’s traditional cuisine is one way of passing some time and whipping up some very delicious dishes. The chance to recreate the food you’ve experienced (or want to experience) in Morocco offers the perfect opportunity to get the culinary juices flowing and trying some new flavours.
Morocco: A Culinary Haven
Perhaps the first thing that comes to many people’s mind when they think of Morocco is the famous tagine. But, although they are undeniably tasty (and also pretty easy to make at home, by the way), there’s more to this magical country’s cuisine than a pointy clay dish.
Due to its geography in Northern Africa, Morocco’s food has been influenced by numerous cultures over the centuries, aside from its Berber traditions. The Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans all left their mark, but the most enduring legacy came from the Arab invaders.
When you delve into the cuisine, it’s not hard to see echoes of all that history, along with Spanish, French and Jewish dishes. Lamb, beef and chicken are prevalent and, along with olives, figs, dates and seasonal hearty vegetables, form the basis of the cuisine.
Of course, the country is also renowned for its spices like cumin, turmeric and coriander (among many, many others) and these are what give the food its distinctive taste. Must-try foods include the traditional bread, khobz, which is often baked in a communal oven, as well as tagines, local olives, harissa and the absolutely mouth-watering breakfast ‘bread’, m’smen.
The Significance of Harira
Another very common food you’ll find in Morocco (in fact it’s known as the national dish) is harira, which is a piquant tomato-based soup made with the ever-popular chickpeas, lentils and rice or noodles. It is traditionally eaten during Ramadan (to break the daily fast), although you’ll see it outside that time as well. At Ramadan it is usually served with dates and chebakya, a sweet delicacy made with honey.
As with any traditional recipe, there are variations from region to region using different herbs and spices and sometimes even with the addition of meat. The recipe below is one that’s quite easy to replicate at home (it’s a vegetarian one, but feel free to add meat), as all the ingredients can usually be found in your supermarket – even during lockdown. In fact, thinking outside the box and cooking recipes from other cultures can even help you get around any shortages of regular ingredients – and you’ll get the pleasure of kitchen travel to boot!
Stock – vegetable or chicken
Chickpeas – tinned or dried (soak overnight)
Onion, celery, carrots
Turmeric, cumin, harissa
Pepper, salt, lemon, parsley
Saute the onion, celery and carrot for about 10 minutes and then add your spices. Then throw in the tomatoes, parsley and coriander and bring to the boil.
Add the chickpeas and lentils and simmer for around half an hour, stirring regularly. (If you’re using tinned chickpeas, don’t add them in until it’s been simmering for 20 minutes.)
While it’s all bubbling away in the pot and driving you mad with the delightful aroma, whisk up the egg, a small amount of flour and the lemon juice with a couple of cups of water, then stir into the soup gradually.
After simmering for another 5-10 minutes your harira is ready to serve and enjoy!
Cook, Eat and Dream of Morocco
Even if it’s not quite the same as being there, treating yourself to the flavours of traditional Moroccan cuisine will help keep you going until we’re all allowed to start travelling again. With a bit of practice you’ll be cooking like a local in no time.
How to Get There
When the restrictions are lifted and we’re all travelling again, if you’re inspired to head to Morocco it’s easy to make your dreams come true. There are numerous direct flights from the UK to Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK) with multiple airlines, so you’ll have no trouble finding a time and a flight to suit.
When you land at the airport, rather than try to navigate local taxis or public transport, I highly recommend getting a pre-booked private transfer with Shuttle Direct. A friendly driver will provide a door-to-door service and in about 15 minutes you’ll be at your accommodation in the city.
- UK to RAK Flight Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
- RAK to Marrakesh Distance: 4.5 kilometres
- Shuttle Direct Transfer Time: 15 minutes
About Shuttle Direct
Make an easy pre-booking online with Shuttle Direct and you’ll start your holiday in Morocco off right. We’re proud to be the best in the business, with a range of shared and private transfers to make organising your holiday easy. When you land at the airport a professional local driver will be there to meet you and take you straight to your accommodation. No matter what your needs and budget, we’ve got a service to suit.