Big Girls, Global Kitchen: What I Ate in Morocco
the couscousiere: small kitchen tool extraordinaire
Last week, I walked in my door after 22 hours of travel. My shirt smelled terrible, but my backpack still smelled like Morocco. Filled with spices, preserved lemons, and the last bites of a flatbread we didn’t finish on the plane, it was an instant reminder of the trip, as if I could have forgotten already. But to ensure that I don’t forget–at least the food–I’ve created the following slideshow–a memory for me, a recap for you.
and I drove from Casablanca, where our flight landed, to Essaouira, with Alex’s friend Melodee and Melodee’s friend, Hind. Melodee and Hind switched off driving the under-construction roads while I drowsed in the backseat, waking up only for couscous (it was Friday, Couscous Day). We spent time at the beach and at restaurants, eating fresh fish, and we walked through our first set of medina streets filled with vendors hawking deliciousness. Then Alex and I went on to Marrakesh, where we indulged in trid at a restaurant Hind had recommended. Trid is a dish that’s nowhere near as famous as tagine,
but I loved it. It’s a spiced chicken stew, containing lentils, tomatoes, and lots of onions, and it’s served with extremely thin layers of torn steamed dough, very similar to the dough of the pan-fried flatbreads we came to love. We also made a point of eating lots and lots of glorious street food in Marrakesh–we just couldn’t resist.
Leaving the city for the mountains, we encountered simpler, heartier food: turkey tagine chock full of vegetables and slices upon slices of local, ripe melon. From the High Atlas, we traveled to Rabat, where Melodee and Hind both live. The last evening of our trip, Hind showed me how to make trid from scratch at Melodee’s apartment, and we ate huge servings of my new favorite dish. I bought a few things at the market myself and, working with what was available, baked a fragrant fig cake for dessert, which I’ll post about soon.
Here’s a photo account of many of my delicious Moroccan meals and snacks:
jus d’avocat (avocado blended with milk) at the windsurfing beach Sidi Kaouki
fish tagine with onions and preserved lemons in Essaouira
lamb and apricot tagine
spicy rghiaf–pan-fried flatbread filled with spices & onions
the stalls at the Djeema al Fna, next to where we ate saucisses with fresh tomatoes and khobz
food stalls at the Djeema al Fna
hearty breakfast in the High Atlas Mountains
picnic by a Berber village: rice, salad, and kofte sauteed with onions and peppers
walnut tree in the High Atlas
figs from the souks in Rabat
harsha, spongy pancake-like breads at the Rabat medina
we bought disks of these stretched strands of dough for making trid
the cake I baked with the figs (and wonderfully fresh walnuts)
Not Pictured: copious amounts of freshly squeezed orange juice; breakfast spreads of flatbread with butter and jam; various tagines; lentils; chicken and kofte brochettes; merguez sausage
It was a wonderful trip, both at the table and away from it! Stay tuned for more–in the coming weeks, I’ll post more about the cooking we did and report back on attempts to make rghiaf at home.
From my kitchen, influenced by Morocco’s, to yours,
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
*I thought that Moroccan mint tea was way too sweet, so I jumped at the chance to have the sugar cubes on the side. But of course when I tasted the unsweetened tea, I decided it needed sugar and added a big old cube. From then on, I stopped complaining about the tooth-aching sweetness and decided to enjoy it!