Moroccans use a lot of spices for the preparation of their dishes.
Nutmeg: the tree comes from the Moluccas Islands, the spice island, probably from Ceram, whose inhabitants call it Banda nutmeg. In the 12th century, almost everywhere in Europe, even in
In Scandinavia, the use of nutmeg, brought back by the Crusaders and the Arabs, spread at a dazzling pace and took second place among spices at the end of the Middle Ages, the first remaining even today, pepper. It was then used to flavor beers.
In 1605, the Dutch hold the monopoly of its marketing. Then Pierre Poivre established plantations on the Ile de France at the end of the 13th century. The Dutch still retain their monopoly until the Second World War. Today, it is found in Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Sumatra, Ceylon, and the Leeward Antilles. The nutmeg tree has a rounded head. Its leaves are oval and lanceolate, egg-shaped 10 cm long and resemble those of rhododendron. The fruit, all-around, resembles an apricot, pale yellow in color and streaked with red and green marks. It is grown in the valleys from sea level up to 500 m altitudes. It takes 7 years to obtain the first harvest. A tree can produce 5 kg of nutmeg against 1 kg of mace.
Saffron: the oldest known reference to saffron as a sexual stimulant is described in a Chinese medicine book dating from 2600 BC. Saffron originates from Nepal. It is necessary to pick up to one hundred thousand flowers to obtain five kilos of dry saffron. It contains phytosterol, a powerful plant hormone, and unstable and volatile alkaloids called safranin and crocin. Just grind a few filaments between the palms of your hands above a dish just before serving it to release all the benefits.
Ginger: its root looks strangely like a little man. Its vasodilator action acts on the organs of the small pelvis and its restorative properties are recognized, but it is preferable to use fresh, grated, or candied ginger.
Cumin: native to the Upper Nile Valley and India. According to the Bible, cumin seeds had so much medicinal value that they could be minted in payment of debts. Later, it enters the repertoire of plants in the monasteries of medieval times.
Cultivated mainly in India and around the Mediterranean, cumin is a spice for the sun. Once a year there are two Capelli or seeds, tiny crescents slightly smaller and darker than caraway seeds of a yellowish-brown or greenish-yellow. The seeds are harvested when the pods are brown. When they are dry, you have to rub them between your hands to extract the seeds.
Coriander: or Chinese parsley, Arabic parsley, bug. Mentioned in the book of Exodus, and consumed as a bitter plant during Passover, coriander was one of the first aromatic plants used by man, especially in Egypt, and China where it is used since the fifth century. The leaves but especially the immature fruits give off a fairly strong odor reminiscent of that of the bug, hence its nickname of Arab bug. Its smell gives rise to superstitions, either it warded off demons by throwing seeds into the fire, or it had aphrodisiac properties. Until then widely used in dishes, it took a certain step back in the 19th century but returned to center stage after the Second World War. It grows wild in southeastern Europe and looks like flat-leaf parsley. The lower leaves are wider and contain a stronger aroma. Tabel is a spice blend made from
coriander in which we add caraway, garlic, red pepper (felfel), etc.
Cinnamon: The Chinese have been harvesting this spice since very ancient times. Europeans use it mainly for baking, competes, and to flavor mulled wines. The high price
of this spice is explained by the complexity of the manipulations necessary during its harvest. The part used corresponds to the thin inner layer of the bark and the scraping operations do not
can only be done manually.
Ras al hanout: is made up of spices used throughout North Africa: cardamom, cinnamon, mace, galangal, maniguette, nutmeg, pepper, cloves, ginger, flowers (belladonna, iris, lavender, rose… ), and insects (cantharid).
Rosewater: is used in Middle Eastern baking. It is also used to flavor the water of the finger rinses. As for the petals, they are used in the composition of jams, and jellies…