Is Moroccan food spicy? That’s a tricky question I get a lot about Moroccan food.
Not everyone likes or enjoys spicy hot food. And for someone who is not very familiar with Moroccan cuisine, I get why you are asking as I get this question ALL the time. Really! The answer really depends on what you mean by spicy.
Is Moroccan Food Spicy?
The answer depends on what you mean by spicy. Authentic Moroccan recipes make use of many spices like ginger, cumin, turmeric, and many other spices, giving Moroccan food those rich, fragrant, and delicious flavors. So if this is what you mean by spicy, Moroccan cuisine is very spicy as it uses a great mix of spices. However, most traditional Moroccan recipes are not spicy hot.
Moroccan Cuisine and Hot Spices
Unlike some Arab countries like Tunisia where using hot spices is a must, most Moroccan dishes are not spicy hot.
As a Moroccan myself, I know that Moroccan people are not into crazy hot spiciness. It’s added in low doses so it adds a little punch, but never too much as it might overwhelm the palate and affect the overall flavors. What’s common for cooks is to have a side of grilled hot pepper or a side of hot sauce for anyone who wants that extra kick.
The Moroccan Harissa sauce is one of the best and most delicious spicy hot sauces used in Moroccan cuisine. And yet, having tried many other spicy sauces, I can say that traditional Moroccan Harissa is on the mild side, still allowing you to enjoy your dish and taste the other flavors. Of course, this applies to Harissa sauces that respect the traditional recipe\.
If you travel to Morocco, most restaurants will follow this rule and serve un-spicy or mildly spicy traditional dishes. On the other hand, if your Moroccan restaurant is outside of Morocco, it’s better to ask and make sure the spiciness matches your taste. If you want an extra kick, you can ask for a side of hot pepper or a little plate of Harissa sauce!