The Amazigh (Berber) cuisine is a traditional cuisine with a varied history and the influence of numerous flavours from distinct regions across North Africa. The traditional cuisine draws influences from Atlas mountains , Sahara desert and heavily populated Berber cities and regions.
Berber Food is very important to the berber culture. It has it’s own way to be cooked, own ingredients, and spices. Couscous and Tajine are examples of Berber Food.
Berber Food is cooked traditionally in a mud oven made with cow manure. It is warmed with trees found in the area, and for special times they have charcoal. When the food is ready to be served, they put it in a tajine pot for decorations. The tajine pot is made out of clay and usually is painted with designs.
Spices are very important berber dish. If there is no spices in a dish, then it is not berber. It is one of the most important ingredient. The most used spices are cinnamon, and cardamon. Spices are added to dishes just for taste.
When you get a taste of Moroccan cuisine you will feel as if you were eating recipes from centuries ago, with distinctive cultural traits, like the Sephardic’s, the sub-Saharian’s or the Oriental’s. Moroccan’s diverse gastronomy goes beyond couscous and mint tea, it comes from the ancient Berber dynasty.
You will find a lot of spices in every market in Morocco, and they are often served as a mix called “Ras Ell Hanut”. Mint, parsley and coriander are ingredients that appear frequently in Moroccan cuisine. Just as in the Mediterranean, Moroccan cook with olive oil and, on rare occasions, with Argan oil. Both couscous and pita bread are the basic food in Morocco.
Green tea, the most important beverage of Morocco, served five times a day, with lots of mint and sugar.
Tagine is the clay cooking pot with a conical lid that gives its name to a myriad of dishes. Tagines can be seen bubbling away at every roadside café, are found in top notch restaurants and in every home, and are always served with bread.
Tajine could be made with many ingredients. For example: Tajine with lamb and plums, Tajine with chicken, Tajine with tuna, and tajine with pigeon. Like couscous it is eaten at lunch and dinner and put in a tajine pot.
Beef or lamb mince with garlic, fresh coriander and parsley, cinnamon and ground coriander is rolled into balls and cooked in a tomato and onion sauce. Just before the dish is ready, eggs are cracked into depressions in the sauce and soon cook to perfection.
Couscous or “Seksu” is a fine wheat pasta traditionally rolled by hand. It is steamed over a stew of meat and vegetables. To serve, the meat is covered by a pyramid of couscous, the vegetables are pressed into the sides and the sauce served separately. It is often garnished with a sweet raisin preserve, or in the Berber tradition, with a bowl of buttermilk.
Couscous is usually eaten at lunch and dinner, and should always be warm and with vegetable sauce. Couscous is put in the pyramid shaped tajine pot. Couscous is made out of wheat grains, vegetables and meat. Now, Couscous is known all around the world, but people are changing the couscous from the tradition. For example: Pork shouldn’t be put in couscous or in any other berber food.
Evidently, Tabadirt or “Amazigh pizza,” a name given to it by youth comparing it to mainstream pizza, It is a famous dish in the desert . Whether prepared by man or woman, this food demands that one be equipped with ample cooking skills far beyond those used at home.
The process of its preparation incorporates four main steps. The first is to meticulously collect many small round stones for use on the ground as a carrier that prevents the dough (which should already be kneaded at this point) from touching the dirt. The second step is to stuff the dough with ingredients prepared ahead of time at home. These ingredients are varied, but may include eggs, meat, onions, tomatoes, carrots or spices typically strong in smell and test.
Whenever Tabadirt is mentioned, it usually occurs to him or her that it’s a thing associated with the desert. By all means, this type of food was found ab initio within nomad daily life. These nomads invented this food to serve themselves energy, time and space. In essence, Tabadirt is a threefold concept. As far as energy is concerned, it is due to Tabadirt’s ingredients which are very effective in fighting hunger and it is concomitant with maximizing the extents of endurance.
This traditional Berber soup is the most important soup in Morocco, as the whole country uses it to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan. Rich with tomato, lentils, onions, chickpeas and Moroccan spices gives Harira a Moroccan flare.
Tangiya is the star dish of Marrakesh. It’s a lamb stew spiced with traditional seasoning and lemon that is cooked in a pottery pot, also named tangiya. It has to be simmered in a wood-fired-oven, or farnatchi.
Although it isn’t a specific dish for any celebration, tangiya is a classic at friend reunions and one of the reasons to travel to the Red City. Traditionally men are the only ones that should cook it.
Having a fish Morocco is really frequent in any village by the coast. As the country has a large fishing heritage, the seafood is high quality and so are these types of tagine. You will understand what’s enchanting about this country when you taste sea bass and sea bream based tagine.
You would complete your culinary experience in the country when you had tasted the real Berber omelette, whose ingredients are- a part from egg- onions, pepper, tomatoes, spices and fresh herbs. There are regions that make it with beaten egg, but some others let the egg thicken. In any case, the omelette is a unique dish.
This very special pie represents the pinnacle of exquisite Fassi (from Fez) cuisine. Layers of a paper-thin pastry coddle a blend of pigeon meat, almonds and eggs spiced with saffron, cinnamon and fresh coriander, the whole dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon.
Moroccan meals begin with at least seven cooked vegetable salads to scoop up with bread. They can include green peppers and tomatoes, sweet carrots or courgette purée, and a dish of local olives alongside. Zaalouk is a smoked aubergine dip, seasoned with garlic, paprika, cumin and a little chilli powder.
At a few pennies a bowl, this rich soup of dried broad beans is traditionally served for breakfast, topped with a swirl of olive oil, a sprinkling of cumin and bread fresh from the oven.
With its long Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, Morocco boasts a rich array of fish dishes. Chermoula is a combination of herbs and spices used as a marinade before grilling over coals, and as a dipping sauce.
In conclusion, we need to leave berber food because if I ask an American about Morocco he will say directly there is couscous and tajine which is Berber. If berber culture becomes instinct then berber food will be instinct too. As an effect, Morocco won’t be known as much as today.
It is nicknamed “Berber whisky” as a joke and it is the national beverage. The Morroccan mint tea, or peppermint tea is prepared with the Moroccan beautiful teapots (formerly they were made of brass or silver, and currently they are made of stainless steel). It is served five times a day, according to the tradition. However, having a cup of tea is a newer tradition than it is believed. It started in the ninetieth century when the British brought it from India.