From the pungent odor of the leather tannery, to a serene mosque decorated with intricate tile work, wandering through the old medina in Fes was a feast for my senses. My trip to Morocco was a whirlwind, but I will never forget the experiences I had that day while exploring this historic area of the city. We dutifully visited a rug shop, and watched leather be dropped into antiquated vats of dye. I peaked into shops and was decorated with a gorgeous henna design on my hand. But like most experiences while traveling, it was the flavorful lunch that is etched so vividly in my mind.
After we dined on an aromatic tajine, I was determined to find the alley in the medina where one could buy spices so I could bring this memory home. The tiny store, about the size of a walk in closet, was lined top to bottom with shelves of spices. The earthy colors and fragrant smells were mesmerizing. I fumbled with my fingers and pointed to the spices I wanted to buy. The kind shopkeeper bagged them up, and I was on my way. Little did I realize this fleeting experience would be so memorable that years later, I am still enamored with the colorful tastes and spices of Morocco.
Morocco shares many of it’s spice mix flavors with neighboring North African countries as well as India yet a Moroccan spice blend tends to be a little milder in heat and have a slightly subtler, less sharp taste.
Moroccan Spice Mix
2T ground tumeric
1T ground coriander
1T ground cumin
2t garlic powder
1t dried thyme
1/2 t cayenne pepper
Combine these spices and store in an air tight container for up to 6 months.
Recipe Ideas for a Moroccan Spice Mix
Tagine/Stew – Use this spice mix to add a Moroccan twist to your stew or make tajine. Follow a basic stew recipe using cubed lamb, beef stew meat or chicken; stock (beef, or chicken depending on the meat you choose), and stew friendly vegetables like onion and tomatoes. Then add spice mix to give it a Moroccan flair.
Moroccan Burger – Add the spice mix to ground beef, ground lamb, or ground turkey. Add a dash or two of salt and BBQ.
Rub – Use spice mix as a rub for meats and/or veggies then BBQ or broil. Add salt to taste.
Butter and Spices – Melt several pats of butter and add 1-2T of spice mix. Add salt to taste. Pour over cooked spaghetti squash for a delicious side dish.
Moroccan spiced ketchup – Add spice mix to ketchup for a great dipping sauce.
Moroccan hummus – Add spice mix to hummus for a flavorful dip for pita bread.