Just like spices, herbs are a distinctive element of Moroccan cuisine used for the enrichment of food flavour and taste. The most important herbs commonly used are: onions, garlic, basil, parsley, green coriander, marjoram, mint, grey verbena and za’atar.
Onions: Called sla, onions are used frequently in Moroccan cooking. Sweet red onions are used in salads and spring onions are delicious in tagines.
Garlic: Called tourma, Moroccan garlic is small and pink with a sweeter, more fragrant perfume than the garlic you’re used to.
Basil: Called hboq in Morocco, basil is rarely used in cooking but it is used to flavour Moroccan tea.
Parsley: Called ma’adnouss, the flat-leaf variety is used extensively in Morocco. Generous amounts are used, especially in tagines.
Green Coriander: Called kosbor, fresh coriander has feathery green leaves and a pungent flavour. It is essential in Moroccan cooking and you will need plenty of it, especially for your tagines.
Marjoram: Called mrdeddouch, it is used most often in Moroccan tea, but also in some other dishes like kefta.
Mint: Called nana, this is used to make Moroccan mint tea. Spearmint is best, but you can use any good, fresh bunch of mint.
Grey verbena: Called louisa in Morocco, grey verbena is used in Moroccan tea to give a slightly bittersweet taste.
Za’atar: A sort of a hybrid thyme-marjoram-oregano mix. If you cannot find dried za’atar from Morocco in food shops, then substitute with a mix of thyme, marjoram and oregano. Do not confuse Moroccan za’atar with the Middle Eastern herb and spice mix of za’atar used to sprinkle on bread.