Below is a list of some of the key styles and products from Morocco.
The Argan Tree
Argan oil comes from the fruit of the Argan tree which is indiginous to Morocco.
The oil is painstakingly extracted from the fruit that falls to the ground after a years growth. It cannot be picked from the tree as the trees are covered with thousands of very sharp tiny thorns.
To make 1 litre of oil it takes approximately 30 kg's of seeds which have to be removered from their hard outer shells which are crushing by hand.
The oil is dark amber in colour and has a strong nutty flavour.
It is used for many purposes including cooking. Cous cous dishes are popular for stiring in some Argan oil or drizzling over grilled or roasted vegetables, bread or as a dressing for salad. It is not suitable for frying.
Described by some as the rich mans Olive oil, Argan oil is rich in anti-oxidants (which help protect the liver and gall bladder) and it contains high levels of Vitamin E (great for the skin). It also contains essential fatty acids (80%) and has anti-inflammatory properties (good for joint problems).
The term Berber refers to the indigenous non-Arab population of Morocco (and across Northern Africa).
The Berbers are scattered in tribes across Morocco and tend to be concentrated in the Rif and Atlas mountains and desert regions of the country.
This is a widely used term often used to describe aged silver from Morocco. There is no exact definition but it can be assumed that it refers to unmarked Silver (both old and new) which is an alloy of silver, nickel and lead. It tends to have a matt finish and a slightly duller appearance than that of sterling silver (925).
Couscous (pronounced Sek-su in Moroccan Arabic) is a grain made from semolina which is about 1 mm in diameter once cooked.
Couscous was traditionally made from the hard part of wheat durum but now also refers to prepared dishes from barley. As a dish couscous is usually served underneath a stew of meat or vegetables.
Couscousier / Cous Cous maker
Click here to purchase your own Moroccan Couscousier
The french term is couscousierre or kiskas in Arabic. It is a 2 piece steamer normally made from aluminium or more traditionally terracotta.
To cook the cous cous the base pan is filled with water or any vegetables that need cooking.
The uncooked rinsed cous cous is placed in the top lid section.
The steam from the boiling water slowly expands the cous cous.
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Highly recognisable, Fez pottery is characterised by predominantly being coloured blue & white. Known as Fakhari in Moroccan arabic or Bleu de Fez in French. The blue colour is obtained from cobalt which was found in rocks in the Wadi Mellih gorge. This type of ceramic is finer in detail, more refined and usually a better production quality than pottery from other regions of Morocco. Patterns are typically geometric or floral.
Also known as a kilim. Hanbels are lighter in weight than more typical rugs / throws as they use finer wool and a flat weave technique. Patterns do not tend to differ.
Hand of Fatima
Click here to purchase your own Moroccan Hand of Fatima.
Also known as a khamsa, the hand of Fatima is considered a good luck charm in Morocco.
It serves as an ancient talismanic way of averting and getting protection from the evil eye, or more generally of providing a "protecting hand" or "Hand of God". It appears, often in stylised form, as a hand with three fingers raised, and sometimes with two thumbs arranged symmetrically. The symbol is used in amulets, charms, jewelry, door entrances, cars, and other places to ward off the evil eye.
Click here to purchase your own Moroccan handira.
Another name for a Berber womans shawl. These shawls are very large compared to a western interpretation of a shawl - usually rug size and ones with small round mirrors sewn on them are made for special occassions - usually as wedding presents.
Harira is the traditional national soup of Morocco which is always eaten during Ramadan. It is a very thick, heavy soup with lots of ingredients. With a lot of Moroccan recipes there are lots of variations on how this can be made but most versions include the following ingredients;
flour, tomatoes, lentils, chick peas, onions, garlic, vermicelli, rice, eggs, herbs & spices and a small amount of meat (usually beef, lamb or chicken). If you would like to make your own Harira then please click here for our Harira recipe.
Probably one of the most important ingredients in Tunisia, Harissa is widely used in Morocco but originates from Tunisia. It is a hot red sauce similar to chilli sauce. It contains chilli peppers, coriander, caraway, garlic and cayenne pepper. If you would like to make your own Harissa then please click here for the recipe. Also we have a recipe for Harissa Lamb and Couscous which can be found here. Harissa is normally eaten with either couscous or pasta but its good added to soup to give it flavour or as a meat rub.
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A metal plate with a wooden handle used for cooking on a hob. Required for cooking with a Moroccan tagine on a hob. The metal plate stops the base of the cooking utensil from burning and also spreads the heat.
A kilim is a flatwoven rug, taking its name from the Turkish word for prayer rug. Kilims are produced by tightly interweaving the warp and weft strands of the weave to produce a flat (i.e. pileless) surface.
A Moroccan majmar is a charcoal brazier made from terracotta. It has 3 raised lips on which a tagine can sit to be heated. They make for an interesting alternative to a barbecue. In Morocco the majmar has often been used by families (particularly in the North of Morocco) to provide heating during the winter. Typically the majmar was taken to the local baker to fill with hot coals which he had been using to cook the bread.
The Qur'an ; also transliterated as Quran, Koran, and Al-Quran, Turkish Kur'an, is the central religious text of Islam. Muslims believe the Qur'an to be the literal word of God (Arabic Allah) as revealed to Muhammad, over a period of twenty-three years by the angel Gabriel and regard it as God's final revelation to mankind.