Friday Favorites: Guest Blogger Amanda Mouttaki Shares her Zeal for Morocco!

June 17th, 2011

Amanda Mouttaki is owner of the blog MarocMama where she discusses Moroccan cooking, culture, and global food topics. It’s my hands-down favorite Arabic food blog for her stories and cultural discussions. Today Amanda shares some of her favorites from Morocco.

Amanda’s Favorite Book:

Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail by Malika Oufkir

Seven years ago through a very strange twist of fate, destiny or divine intervention I met my Moroccan husband. Recently I wrote about how I found my way to Morocco. I owe a whole lot of credit to Moroccan author Malika Oufkir. Her book Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail was my first encounter with Morocco and to this day, it remains my favorite book about the country. If you’ve read it you might find this statement odd, but to a history nerd like me it was utterly intriguing. If you have never read this book, I’ll warn you, it’s not the romanticized version of Morocco. It’s the down and dirty version. Every country has its secrets and Malikas’ book shows the unsavory side of Morocco’s past. That being said, it is the story of a family and the story of many Moroccan families who have never spoken up about the injustices that occurred during the reign of Hassan II. I was drawn in within a few pages and could not put it down.    


Amanda’s Favorite Dish:

Moroccan Stuffed & Spiced Chicken

Aside from my husband, my next Moroccan love is the food. My very favorite dish is a whole roasted, spiced chicken stuffed with vermicelli noodles. It is so good.  The first time I ate this was at a small engagement party for my husband and me. I really wish I had a recipe to share with you but this dish is a specialty of my sister-in-law, and I’ve never been able to master it.  If you follow my blog I will be posting something similar soon. I don’t think I’ll ever get it exactly right, and it’s one of those recipes I’m not sure I want to replicate as it might take away from my enjoyment when I do get to eat it.  

Amanda’s Third Favorite…

Once you’ve got the man and the food, what’s left to love? Why the clothing, of course! The traditional Moroccan garments for women are caftans and takchitas. I’ve got half a dozen hanging in my closet. I should point out a caftan in Morocco is a single garment, that can be either long or short sleeved, though sometimes heavier winter caftans have two layers. A takchita is a more elaborate dress, almost always double layered with a belt around the waist. I really can’t have too many of these even though I rarely have a function fancy enough to wear one. I love the newer styles that are cut wider in the front to reveal a gorgeous under-layer. In Morocco, these dresses can be bought off the rack, custom made, or rented for special occasions, making them accessible to almost everyone. 

What is your favorite thing about Morocco?  

  1. Rima Aburashed
    June 17th, 2011 at 15:00 | #1

    I’m so happy that you have Amanda as your guest blogger Holly. My sister-in-law is Moroccan I’ll ask her about the stuffed chicken once she gets back from Morocco. I love Amanda’s style of writing, I felt like I was reading a piece written by a dear friend or someone I’ve encountered before. Again, thank you Holly!

  2. June 17th, 2011 at 18:41 | #2


    Thank you so much for asking me to guest post. I love to share my passion for Morocco and you know I’ve adored you and your posts on Twitter for a long time now. I look forward to each one of your new blog posts!

    Rima – Thank you for your kind words! I hope your sister-in-law can make this delicious dish for you to enjoy – I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I do.

  3. June 18th, 2011 at 12:05 | #3

    Enjoyed reading about your life in Morocco Amanda.
    I love Moroccan food and culture as well even though not married to one of ‘theirs’. Mine is Sudanese/Egyptian:)
    By the way my favorite dish is the sweet chicken ‘Pastilla’ or do I spell it ‘Bastilla’? Sounds easier in Arabic.
    Your intricate Henna reminds me of the Sudanese one. Do they use dye as well to make it black or do you apply it in layers until it darkens?
    Holly thank you for sharing this lovely post with us.

  4. June 18th, 2011 at 15:01 | #4

    Zvezdana- I love b’stilla too – I’ve seen it spelled both ways..just depends on the person I guess! The henna in Morocco does sometimes use the dye – but because of my light complexion they do not use it because it would stay forever and ever so I’ve been told. It’s kind of scary stuff anyway so I’m glad they have never used it on me!

  5. Holly S. Warah
    Holly S. Warah
    June 18th, 2011 at 19:31 | #5

    @Amanda Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge here. The book is now on my reading list & now I know the name of those lovely Moroccan dresses — takchita! As for b’stilla, it’s one of my favorites, too. So flaky and melts in your mouth. Who would think that chicken would taste good with sweet pastry, cinnamon & powdered sugar? (However, my husband prefers his b’stilla with pigeon.) One day I’d like to learn to prepare this dish. 🙂 Meanwhile, I’m so curious about this chicken stuffed with vermicelli–I will watch your blog for more info!

  6. June 19th, 2012 at 02:42 | #6

    I’m so happy that I have found your blog, Holly:) Morocco has a very special place in my heart, even though I’ve never been there. I love reading about its culture, tradition and unique food. If I ever make it there I would love to get myself a takchita:)

    Amanda, there’s so much history on your blog, I’m so eager to read every single post. The book sounds very interesting, I’ll look for it.

    Thank you both for writing about Morocco!

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      June 25th, 2012 at 23:48 | #7

      Adriana, Thanks so much for leaving the thoughtful comment. It means a lot. I can’t get enough of Morocco either!

  7. January 22nd, 2013 at 01:26 | #8

    My favorite food is Moroccan, and I have to say b’stillah wins, and it is what won my heart to Moroccan food. That, and the Marrakesh restaurant in LV back in the early 1980s (I understand it is still there.) My fiance at the time was Lebanese, and his father had a restaurant in Saudi Arabia, so he went back and talked to the restaurant owner and got me Rose Dosti’s Middle Eastern Cooking cookbook (which is my favorite, for all the many different dishes, not only B’stillah) and marked it up to show the differences between the cookbook and the restaurant’s methods. But I use Rose’s because they crossed out basic things that I felt sure should be in there (like onions or parsley, something like that). I am glad to have found this blog and yours, also, and look forward to learning more.

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      February 6th, 2013 at 16:58 | #9

      Hi Diane,
      Thanks you so much for reading & for the wonderful comment. I enjoyed hearing you story.
      And I will check out that cookbook right away!
      Thanks again, Holly

  8. Ulrike
    August 25th, 2013 at 18:39 | #10

    I’ve been looking for websites from which to purchase Takchita and caftans, but am having no luck. I keep finding all these lovely photos, but they all just lead to blogs. Any help?

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      September 5th, 2013 at 17:06 | #11

      I’m sorry that I can’t be of more help. I think if you can’t find what you are looking for online, perhaps you can find a specialty shop in a large city–or take a trip to Morocco. 🙂 Good luck.

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