UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 27: Ligurian cuculli (fried mashed potato dumplings) balls of mashed potatoes with marjoram, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
Food - Drink
The Fried Potato Dumplings That Are A Staple Of Morocco's Street Food
Fried potato dumplings — known as maaqouda, maqouda, or maakouda — are one of Morocco's signature street foods, and a must-try if you visit the country. While many Moroccan recipes can be notoriously time-consuming, maakouda are relatively quick and simple to make, starting with baking potatoes in the oven.
After the potatoes are baked, they're peeled, mashed, and mixed with seasonings like cumin, onion, garlic, turmeric, parsley, and cilantro, plus breadcrumbs and eggs to bind the mixture. The mixture is shaped into balls, coated in flour, and dropped into frying oil, where they cook for a few minutes until perfectly golden brown.
There are many different variations of maakouda out there, and some chefs use grated potatoes rather than mashed, and may add tuna, ground meat, or cheese. Those who don't eat gluten can use gluten-free breadcrumbs and flour, while vegans can make maakouda without cheese or meat and use an egg alternative.
Maakouda are served as an appetizer or side during Ramadan alongside other festive foods, or as a side to tagine, a category of curry-like Moroccan dishes. On city streets, maakouda are typically served on their own with a dipping sauce or as a sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and fresh khobz, a crusty Moroccan bread.