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Moroccan Cooking



Tajines in Moroccan cuisine are slow-cooked stews braised at low temperatures, resulting in tender meat with aromatic vegetables and sauce. They are traditionally cooked in the tajine pot, whose cover has a knob-like formation at its top to facilitate removal (sometimes called a 'handle'). While simmering, the cover can be lifted off without the aid of a mitten, enabling the cook to inspect the main ingredients, add vegetables, move things around, or add additional braising liquid.

Most tajines involve slow simmering of less-expensive meats. For example, the ideal cuts of lamb are the neck, shoulder or shank cooked until it is falling off the bone. Very few Moroccan tajines require initial browning; if there is to be browning it is invariably done after the lamb has been simmered and the flesh has become butter-tender and very moist. In order to accomplish this, the cooking liquid must contain some fat, which may be skimmed off later.

Moroccan tajines often combine lamb or chicken with a medley of ingredients or seasonings: olives, quinces, apples, pears, apricots, raisins, prunes, dates, nuts, with fresh or preserved lemons, with or without honey, with or without a complexity of spices. Traditional spices that are used to flavour tajines include ground cinnamon, saffron, ginger, turmeric, cumin, paprika, pepper, as well as the famous spice blend Ras el hanout. Some famous tajine dishes are mqualli or mshermel (both are pairings of chicken, olives and citrus fruits, though preparation methods differ), kefta (meatballs in an egg and tomato sauce), and mrouzia (lamb, raisins and almonds).

Other ingredients for a tajine include any product that braises well: fish, quail, pigeon, beef, root vegetables, legumes, even amber and aga wood. Modern recipes in the West include pot roasts, ossobuco, lamb shanks and turkey legs. Seasonings can be traditional Moroccan spices, French, Italian or suited to the dish.


Couscous is a Berber dish consisting of spherical granules made by rolling and shaping moistened semolina wheat and then coating them with finely ground wheat flour. One of the first written references is from an anonymous 13th century Hispano-Muslim cookery book, "The book of cooking in the Maghreb and Al Andalus", with a recipe for couscous that was 'known all over the world'. Couscous was known to the Nasrid royalty in Granada as well. And in the 13th century a Syrian historian from Aleppo includes four references for couscous. These early mentions show that couscous spread rapidly, but that in the main, couscous was common from Tripolitania to the west, while from Cyrenaica to the east the main cuisine was Egyptian, with couscous as an occasional dish. Today, couscous is a staple in Morocco.


Spices are used extensively in Moroccan food. While spices have been imported to Morocco for thousands of years, many ingredients, like saffron from Tiliouine, mint and olives from Meknes, and oranges and lemons from Fez, are home-grown. Common spices include karfa (cinnamon), kamoun (cumin), kharkoum (turmeric), skingbir (ginger), libzar (pepper) , tahmira (paprika), anis seed, sesame seed, kasbour (coriander), maadnous (parsley), zaafrane beldi (saffron) and mint.


Sweets are not usually served at the end of a Moroccan meal. Seasonal fruits are typically served at the end of meals. A common dessert is kaab el ghzal ("gazelle's horns"), which is a pastry stuffed with almond paste and topped with sugar. Another dessert is " Halwa shebakia " it is honey cake, which is essentially pretzel-shaped pieces of dough deep-fried and dipped into a hot pot of honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Halwa Shebakia are cookies eaten during the month of Ramadan. Zucre Coco are coconut fudge cakes.


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Moroccan Cooking Classes in Marrakech

Being at the crossroads of many civilizations, the cuisine of Morocco has been influenced by the native Berber cuisine, the Middle Eastern cuisines brought by Arabs, the Arabic Andalusian cuisine brought by the Moriscos when they left Spain, the Turkish cuisine from the Ottomans as well as the Jewish cuisine.

The history of Morocco is reflected in its cuisine. Political refugees left Baghdad in the Middle Ages and settled in Morocco, bringing with them traditional recipes that are now common in Morocco. A signature characteristic is cooking fruit with meat, such as quince with lamb, or apricots with chicken. Further influences upon Moroccan cuisine came from the Morisco , who were expelled from Spain during the Spanish inquisition.

We offer half day classes, 3 and 4 day packages in Marrakech and multi day excursion with stops to cooking with local villagers.

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La Maison Arabe

Half Day Class

Known in the past as one of the most famous and legendary restaurants of the African continent, La Maison Arabe today offers cooking workshops designed   for the amateur and professional alike – for anyone who wishes to discover the pleasures of  Moroccan  and to become familiar with one of the great cuisines of the world.

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From 80.00€ pp

Cooking in Marrakech

Duration: 8hrs

Cost: 80.00€ pp

Please use the above Inquiry Form

In enchanting surroundings – a Kasbah surrounded by lush greenery and a vegetable garden – a Dada, the housekeeper traditionally responsible for child care and cooking in wealthy families, shares her secret recipes with future cordon blue chefs.

The workshops, adapted according to the length of the participants’ stay, are organized in small groups around easy-to-use modern equipment.

Each session is preceded by a brief introduction to Moroccan cuisine, during which the history and traditions of the “specialty of the day’’ are described.

A translator provides detailed preparation and cooking instructions. At the end of each workshop, participants dine on the meal they have prepared on a private patio in the shade of an olive or fig tree.

Each work shop is structured so that the participants ( 8 persons  maximum per workshop)  learn to prepare an appetizer and a main course, or a main course and a dessert (only for tajines modules). The menu is chosen by the participants in advance of the workshop.

A free shuttle bus service is provided from the Maison Aarabe at 10:00 AM to the country club near the Palmeraie area where the cooking workshops are held.

If you would like a market visit prior to the class please let us know.

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