The Fuel of Ramadan: Favourite Moroccan Dishes

Rabat - Millions of Moroccans are preparing for the onset of Ramadan, 30 days of pious fasting in adherence to the Quran. Sixteen hours a day of fasting needs the proper fuel for a month of sustenance. Morocco has no shortage of traditional favourites to please any Ramadan-inspired appetite.

Each day throughout the holy month, from sunrise to sunset, observant Moroccans fast, denying themselves both food and liquid. A canon report or siren signals the start of each day’s fast and registers again at sunset to alert Moroccans it is permissible to begin their feast.

Over many generations, Moroccan traditions have created slew of recipes to share with family and friends. Over the years, recipes alter slightly and new favourites are added but always there is a core collection of favourites. Some or all of them make an appearance in virtually every Moroccan home during Ramadan. Here are a few:


Packed with protein and staying power, soups have become a staple Ramadan food for Moroccans. Favourites include Hssoua Belboula, a barley and milk Moroccan classic and Harira, a delicious lentil and tomato soup.


Sweet or savory, these Moroccan treats never stay o the table for long. The popular, triangle-shaped pastries can be filled with a traditional almond paste flavoured with orange flower water, fried and soaked briefly in honey. The savory versions feature cream cheese fillings, seasoned with optional herbs and hot peppers. Other versions include fillings of shrimp and Chinese vermicelli, seasoned, ground meat or chicken with saffron, ginger and cinnamon.


Square or round, Moroccan pancakes, also called rghaif, provide priceless sustenance and are packed with wholesome, basic flavours. Msemen, the square version, are flattened and folded before being pan-fried and served warm with butter and honey.

Many Moroccans enjoy Msemen with Kefta, a filled version of the pancake, stuffed with seasoned ground beef or onion. They can be made ahead of time and frozen.

Their round cousins, called Meloui, are made by rolling strips of dough like rugs, flattening them into circles and frying them in a pan. They are also served with butter and honey.

Beghrir are closer to crepes but are still classified as a pancake. Made from fine semolina, they melt in your mouth served with the traditional butter and honey syrup.


A near-sacred staple every day of the year, Moroccan breads take on a special significance during Ramadan.

Krachel are sweet rolls, flavoured with anise, sesame and orange flower water. They are perfect alone or with selection of other goodies.

Harcha is a pan-fried bread made from semolina flour. When baked they have the appearance of English muffins but the flavour and texture is closer to cornbread. They are best when served warm with jam or butter and honey syrup.

There is also a stuffed version of Harcha that uses fillings flavoured with thyme, onions, olives, parsley and cheese.

Batbout are best when cooked using the stove-top method. This gives them a chewy texture and a nice pocket, perfect for stuffing with a variety of fillings.

Khobz B’Chehma is a stuffed bread, filled with traditional mixtures of lamb or beef suet, parsley, spices and onions.


Like a donut but so much more, the simple but glorious beignet is served with a variety of fillings or jams. They are even delicious plain.


To simply call Sellou a cookie is selling the delectable item short. A mixture of roasted sesame seeds, fried almonds and flour form the base of the sweet treat before browning it in the oven. Say the word sellout in front of any Moroccan and his/her mouth will immediately begin to water.


Moroccan Brochettes and grilled meats are a Ramadan favourite. The basic kebab is carried to new heights after being seasoned and marinated for several hours before hitting the grill. Flavoured with a touch of saffron, they are served as an appetizer or an entrée.

Lemon Cake

There is nothing like a Moroccan lemon cake.  Light and fine in texture, subtle and sweet in flavour. For those who aren’t fans of lemon but still want a citrus zest, try substituting lemon with natural orange flavour.


During daily fasting, liquids take on new importance in keeping the body’s electrolytes balanced.

Strawberry/orange juice is a favourite Ramadan choice. The juice, fresh or frozen, provides an all-important energy boost either at the end of a long day of fasting, or at the start of a new one. For a refreshing treat with a bit more staying power, try mixing in yogurt for a delicious smoothie. Dried apricots combined with orange juice is a variant of the Middle eastern drink known as qamar el-deen. Another popular flavour combination is peach and orange.

Milkshakes are hugely popular once the day’s fast is broken, most beginning with an almond base. You can give yours a uniquely Moroccan twist by adding orange flower water.

A power-packed version of the Moroccan milkshake incorporates avocado for added protein to help you through the next 16 hours of deprivation.

Moroccan Mint Tea

Perhaps the most recognizable Moroccan beverage in existence, mint tea is a Ramadan staple for many Moroccans. The syrupy sweetness, charged by a handful of fresh spearmint leaves reawakens a tired body and mind. So-called Chinese gunpowder tea is the preferred base for most Moroccans.

Ramadan is a personal experience to be sure, but paradoxically, also a communal one. The knowledge and awareness achieved during these 30 days of sacrifice shape millions of Muslim minds and hearts each and every year.

The communal atmosphere of breaking each day’s fast is more than symbolic. It represents a shared celebration of individual spiritual achievements, a veritable reaping of spiritual seeds sown and that, is priceless.




  • The Moroccan Gold Eldorado

    The Moroccan Gold Eldorado, a Myth or a Reality?

    Rabat - Recently, a conspiracy theory video about a large gold discovery in Morocco is making rounds online. The video claims that a substantial gold reserve was discovered and is being extracted by a Canadian mining company called Maya Gold and Silver. We Moroccans are very proud human beings, we love our country and cherish...

  • Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani

    Qatar: How the Tables Are Turning in The Gulf

    Rabat - Amidst harsh sanctions and a long list of demands from its neighbors, Qatar’s ability to thrive under pressure may prove to be problematic for Saudi Arabia. As Saudi Arabia and its coalition attempt to wait out Qatar, the recent spat in the Gulf continues to become more and more global, and severely against...

  • FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2015 file photo, a plume of steam billows from the coal-fired Merrimack Station in Bow, N.H. If the nation doesn’t do more, the U.S. probably won’t quite meet the dramatic heat-trapping gas reduction goal it promised in last year’s Paris agreement to battle climate change, according to a new study. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

    Climate Change : If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Fix It

    Chefchaouen - Climate change is happening at home and around the world. Chefchaouen is doing its part by embracing clean energy climate solutions and engaging its citizens in climate action. When it comes to fighting climate change, cities and local leaders are best positioned to lead that charge. Local leaders from coastal to landlocked communities are...

  • 20

    India Orders Internal Probe into Mistaken Use of Morocco-Spain Border Picture

    Hyderabad - The Indian Ministry of Interior on Wednesday ordered an internal investigation to find out how a picture of Morocco-Spain border was used in its annual report to show floodlights along the India-Pakistan border. What is most embarrassing is that the annual report of previous years was tabled during the Budget Session of Indian...

  • Amid Growing Tension, Thousands of Moroccans Stage Pro-Rif March in Rabat

    Neglect in Harsh Soil: The Deep Roots of the Rif Crisis

    Rabat - The ongoing protests in northern Morocco started almost eight months ago, but they have their origin in nearly a century of violent repression by the state. The Rif has, in spite of itself, got involved into a peaceful revolt since the death of the fishmonger Mohcine Fikri at the end of October 2016, a...

  • Tamim Bin Hamad al Thani emir of Qatar

    The Qatar Crisis: What Does It Mean?

    Rabat - The recent diplomatic fallout between Qatar and the rest of the Middle East could have serious economic and geopolitical consequences across the globe. Earlier this week, Qatar’s diplomatic crisis took an extreme turn as several Arab states severed diplomatic ties with the Gulf nation.  The original list of countries in the coalition against...

  • Moroccans spend Laylat al-Qadr, the 26th day of Ramadan, at the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca.

    Ramadan: Not just Abstinence from Daily Intakes 

    By Abdellatif Oudra Rabat - The observance of Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam, compels Muslims to fast from sunrise to sunset. But it is not just about abstaining from food or drink.  Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is observed in commemoration of the revelation of Qur’an to the prophet Mohammad,...

  • Morocco Threatens to Terminate Agriculture Agreement with Europe

    Morocco and the EU: Managing the Future

    Rabat - Morocco enjoys proximity to Europe and is at an advantage of being favoured by the European Union as a close partner on political, economic, and cultural levels. Historical archives and political legacies tie Morocco directly with at least three influential European countries: France, Spain, and England. Demography, kinship, and immigration compel other EU...

  • The Educational and Cultural Implications of the Arab Spring

    The Educational and Cultural Implications of the Arab 'Spring'

    Rabat - In the last ten years or so, the Arab world has seen unprecedented collapses in the realms of politics and economy, among others. World NGOs regularly release area-specific rankings, in which Arab nations commonly rank at the bottom of lists in education, human rights, and income for instance while they top those of...

  • Thousands Hold Peaceful Demonstration in Memory of Mouhcine Fikri

    Al Hoceima and the Pedagogical Exercise

    Ottawa - What makes a democracy different from non-democracy? This is the classical and historical question asked by philosophers over the centuries and deeply questioned in the discipline of political science. Democracy cannot prevent inequality as the case in the United States where inequality is the highest globally. Democracy cannot stop corruption like in Brazil...