Our carrot, orange and ginger soup is simple to prepare and contains everyday ingredients. If you’re looking for popular Moroccan appetizers, why not consider a Moroccan soup instead? This soup will surprise you with its depth of flavor and beautiful spicing. It’s a lovely soup your whole family will enjoy.
Carrot, orange and ginger soup is moderately spiced. It contains some fresh and dried spices and herbs which Moroccans would purchase from their local spice souk (or market). If you’re looking for a starter for Moroccan-themed dinner party recipes, then look no further. It also falls into the category of easy Moroccan recipes with the soup able to be prepared in advance to the blending stage.
All large towns in Morocco have a spice souk. And, wandering through a spice souk with their mesmerizing array of colors, mysterious scents and hectic sounds is just one of the best things you can do in Morocco. It’s where everyday people shop and its where you can grab a glimpse of what life is really like in Morocco. Not to mention, where you can purchase some dried spices yourself to take home. We give our own observations of our experiences in the spice souks, later in the post.
All of those exotic spices have contributed to the growing popularity of Moroccan food recipes right around the world. Having enjoyed the “Western versions” of numerous Moroccan meals at home, we have been looking forward for some years to visiting Morocco and enjoying our fair share of tagines, as well as couscous. What we weren’t prepared for was the range and popularity of soups in this warm and relatively dry country. It wasn’t just carrot, orange and ginger soup but a huge variety of soups we enjoyed throughout our time in Morocco.
Read on to find out more about the popularity of Moroccan soups and some of the spices delivering great flavor.
Soups in Morocco
On the way to Morocco, I was reading an article claiming Fassi culture, centered around Fes, treats fruits as vegetables and makes surprising use of spices to produce sweet and savory results in their gastronomy. This statement certainly holds true in the case of our carrot, orange and ginger soup. We enjoyed this soup on more than one occasion in Morocco. But really? Who would have thought such a combination could be so satisfying?
We enjoyed numerous soups at all our hotels, a range of restaurants, as well as local cafes. It is apparent, soup is a very popular course in Morocco, both with tourists as well as with the locals. Other popular soups you may not have heard of which we enjoyed during our visit included those below.
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Moroccan Soups You May Not Know of
D’Chicha, a thick tomato and semolina soup, topped with chopped cilantro. Our hotel in Fes served this to us at breakfast with meloui (an unleavened, layered bread), dried figs and lemon. It was out of this world. When tasting a soup like this, you can certainly understand why many people use the word “exotic” to describe the cuisine of Morocco.
At La Cantine des Gazelles in Marrakech, we enjoyed a gorgeous, Cream of Zucchini soup. The owner (and Maître d’hôtel) of this very, popular and inexpensive café in Marrakech is French. There is a considerable, French influence in Moroccan cuisine. I don’t always care for cream soups, but this soup had an incredible depth of flavor.
Another fine soup we enjoyed at breakfast was Chorba, again at our hotel in Fes. You can find chorba throughout the Middle East, northern Africa, central and south Asia, the Balkans, as well as eastern and central Europe. It is vegetable soup (usually) using popular Moroccan spices such as saffron. In other cultures, chorba recipes often contain meat but on the two occasions we enjoyed chorba, it was vegetarian.
Some More Familiar Moroccan Soups
Gazpacho was another soup we enjoyed on more than one occasion. This chilled soup was on a number of menus throughout Morocco. We enjoyed a Tomato and Basil Gazpacho at Riad si Said in Marrakech, with the restaurant located in a beautiful space complete with babbling water features and glorious Moroccan tiles. A spicier version was the Piquante Gazpacho we enjoyed at our Marrakech hotel.
Other soups we enjoyed in Morocco were different versions of the Carrot Orange and Ginger Soup we are featuring today. And then there was Creamy Squash Soup and Harissa Soup, served with dates and lemon. Sometimes the soups were generically named. Our Berber Soup and Moroccan Soup tasted like versions of Harira Soup. Harira soup features some very typical, Moroccan spices. So, with that in mind, let’s talk about Moroccan spices.
The Importance of Spices in Morocco
I mentioned earlier, each town of any size in Morocco features a spice souk. If you are into your flavors and colors, don’t miss the opportunity to visit a spice souk when in Morocco. We visited 3 spice souks: Essaouira, Marrakech and Fes.
In the seaside town of Essaouira, we visited Mohamed’s Spice Shop, and learnt a good vendor won’t just sell you cooking spices but acts almost as an alchemist or an apothecary. There is no end of natural products, mixtures and blends they sell for all sorts of ailments. In the West, some pharmaceutical companies are at last becoming more interested in basing their medicines on these products. They also sell natural colors for artists to use. You can view a 20 second video here about how the rarest color in nature, purple, was discovered and produced. It’s rather fascinating.
In Marrakech we bought some dried, cooking spices and blends to take home with us from the spice souk situated in the Jewish Melleh inside the old town. It is hard to find, so you may need to ask for directions at your hotel. Many of the stallholders will mix you up a your own blend if you tell them what it is you want it for. You could have your own signature chicken tagine blend, or perhaps a blend for fish stews.
We settled for a lovely five spice blend, which we are still using today, and goes perfectly with fish or in salads. We also purchased our own version of a blend Morocco is famous for, Ras el Hanout. It means “top of the shop” and usually consists of between 35 and 45 individual spices from the Orient, sub-Saharan Africa and Morocco.
The other signature spice blend in Morocco is harissa, which is usually sold as a paste, but you can also buy it as a spice blend and then add olive oil and garlic. This is a much hotter blend than Ras el Hanout and consists of a number different peppers and spices. It is often served as an accompaniment to Moroccan dishes, so people can add as much or as little to their meal.
The secret to Moroccan flavors is no one spice or taste dominates. Spice blends achieve a depth of flavor but don’t overpower a dish.
What I haven’t mentioned, is that you can buy literally hundreds of individual spices at a souk. The trick is to find a vendor who is selling good volumes, so you don’t end up buying spices past their use by date. The most popular individual spices in Morocco are cumin, coriander, pepper, capsicum and cinnamon. Cumin is so popular Morocco grows 900 tonnes of it. That’s a lot of cumin for something that doesn’t weigh very much. And, it doesn’t even come close to satisfying demand, as Morocco imports a further 3600 tonnes of cumin!
For our carrot, orange and ginger soup, we will be using both dried and fresh spices and herbs.
Carrot Orange and Ginger Soup
We enjoyed versions of this soup right throughout Morocco. It’s easy to make but you will need to blend the soup with a stick blender or food processor. It is vegetarian, made from vegetable stock, and if you omit the honey and yogurt at the end then it is vegan as well.
Although the three main ingredients might be carrot, orange and fresh ginger, there are plenty of other flavors provided by the fresh garlic and cilantro (coriander) and dried spices, coriander powder, cumin and allspice.
It is an easy soup to make and it has a mild taste with the honey providing a great balance to the mild spices. Carrot, orange and ginger soup is a great introduction to the joys of Moroccan cuisine. Please enjoy.
If you are looking for some other soup recipes from distant cultures, why not try one of these:
Beef noodle pho from Vietnam is at last gaining the popularity it deserves right around the world. Healthy and filling it is a meal in itself with wonderful Vietnamese spices and herbs.
Red lentil soup from Turkey is easy to make. It’s not too thick nor to thin, made from everyday ingredients and just full of wholesome flavor.
Tom yum soup from Thailand is classically sour and surprisingly easy to make. Full of popular, Thai flavors from the herbs, spices and stock.
I don’t know too many people who don’t enjoy butternut squash soup. This one has an Australian touch and is served with quinoa.
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