As Ramadan is going on these weeks, I felt that there is no better time to collect and offer some knowledge on the signature food, dishes and meals which are eaten during this holy period in Morocco. First of all, let’s say a few words on Ramadan in terms of eating and also on what way it changes the approach to eating.
In a nutshell about the importance of Ramadan:
Ramadan is the longest and most important celebration in the Muslim world, like a very long Christmas, that is much awaited and very much celebrated. As its being said, this is the period when the gates of hell are closed and when all prayer matters the most. Ramadan is an extremely holy period and every kids are raised to go through with it from the age of 13-14 year old. Of course, too old and ill people are exempt from fasting.
Why is Ramadan food different?
During Ramadan, which is celebrated throughout Morocco people can only eat from the time of the last prayer (around 10 pm) up until the morning prayer ( around 4 am) this is the period for eating and drinking, then during the day, people do not drink, do not eat but learned to get through the day without it. In order for them to be able to do this however, people need a special diet which would give them the necessary amount of energy, vitamins and a natural boost to get through the day, despite the fact, that they have to get through the day without eating.
Therefore there is a high amount of specialty food, heavier, more nutritious, which is specifically being eaten during the Ramadan month. Oily meals and very sweet sweets are often eaten in this period of the year. We are going to introduce you to some of these.
Drinking, is even trickier not to do for a whole day. For us in the West this is something we have never done before, therefore it’s totally strange to our culture. A Westerner can hardly imagine how to get through the day, especially without drinking.
Of course there are some key obligations to follow too which include not to drink alcohol, not to smoke, stay away from bad situations, not to swear, dress modestly, follow through every prayer – if possible in the mosque.
And now, let’s see some signature Ramadan dishes in Morocco!
Chebakia Sweets: Chebakia is the signature sweet of Morocco during Ramadan and it comes with all shape or form. The pastry and the cookie itself is literally soaking with honey from the inside and from the outside, covered with sesame seeds, so it’s for those having a good teeth. This cookie is a heavy one, therefore it’s specifically for Ramadan or for other special occasions which include weddings, circumcision parties and baby birth parties. As this is a signature sweet there are tons of recipes available online, but I found another good site where there is a great, detailed step-by-step description on how to cook this cookie. Click here to view it.
The wonders of Briouats:
Briouat is a triangular shaped pastry, which can be filled with literally anything, from sweet to meat and as you can see from its name, this food has French roots. The good thing in briouats is that their filling and the fact that they are fried in oil makes them exceptionally copious or heavy, which makes sure that those who eat it will feel full for a long while.
Check out the recipes of the following:
Chicken Briouats – salty
Almond Briouats – sweet
All in the soup: Harira Soup
Harira is the signature Ramadan soup in Morocco and it has as many preparation types and styles as the number of families preparing it. In general it’s a great deal because its nutritious with a very rich vegetable content, it’s copious because of the pasta or rice that’s been put in it and it’s fluidy as it is a soup. Harira tastes great – it’s basic concept is very similar to the Italian Minestrone. Check out a good, detailed recipe here.
Eat with lots of bread: oily as it can be
The Msemen and the Meloui are the basic soft -pastries – in concept similar to our rolls or breads that are made in every Moroccan households on a daily basis, but they are even more popular during Ramadan. These are both also fried in oil and this makes sure that they make up for a very abundant meal. You can eat them with butter, jam, cheese, sour crème, meat, honey and the list goes on.
Harsha: the cornbread fried – bread – another easy pastry to prepare at home.
The good thing is that both Msemen and Meloui are easy to prepare:
Check out the recipe for Msemen here
Check out the recipe for the Meloui here
Check out the recipe of Harsha here
Beghrir – the crepe of Morocco
The good thing about Moroccan food is its versatility and their relative ease to be made at home. Beghrir is a very well-known and popular crepe-like sweet, which is often cooked for breakfast in the Moroccan households. It tastes just great with warm honey, butter and jam and you can even roll it up and eat it that way.
Brochettes and kebabs
Grilled meat is a big favorite also in Morocco and when it comes to Iftar evening, they are very much liked, consumed with pommes frites and vegetables (mostly boiled) Brochettes are often being eaten when Ramadan is getting close to its end, the big ‘Eid celebration and they are also often consumed for the Eid too. I have found some great recipes of various subtypes of Moroccan Brochettes which you can view by clicking here.