Saturday, 28 June 2014

Incredibly delicious Moroccan orange and cinnamon fruit salad

Moroccan orange salad is rather a dessert served at the end of a meal. It's at its best when the oranges are in season.

How can an easy recipe such as this one be so good? If you look at the combination of flavours, they all seem made for each other: oranges, orange blossom water and cinnamon. It's so Moroccan!

This is such a short and easy recipe that you have time to read what I have to say about orange blossom water while making it..

Orange blossom water (or orange flower water) is called "maa zhar" in the Arab world, maa refers to water and zhar or zahar refers to flower. It's not to be confused with Rose water.

I served my orange salad with a good vanilla ice-cream, not traditional
 but they go together very well

There is a common belief that orange blossom water results from the distillation of flowers coming from the common orange tree. This is absolutely not the case as the flowers used for the purpose are from the bitter orange or Seville orange tree called "bigaradier".

In Morocco, we call this bitter orange "naranj" or "lranj". These trees are widely spread in Fes, Marrakech and many other Moroccan cities. They're literally in the streets. We have 3 just at my parents' doorsteps in Casablanca.

We pick the flowers (not sprayed with chimicals) to make this wonderful water but we also use the quarters of the orange in the chicken brine in order to kill that smelly "chickeny" taste.

My auntie's window is overlooking a tree loaded with bitter oranges.
An old tool called "qattara" with its pot is a double-tool used for the steam distillation out of which we get the orange blossom water.

Maa zhar is an important water in our Moroccan life..It's synonymous of major happy events (weddings, birth, circumcision, religious feasts ..) and many almond sweets. 

In Fez, we use it to welcome guests by adding it to the drinks (cold or hot)..We literally drizzle it on our clothes and guests' clothes. We perfume our skin with it..My whole childhood is filled with Maa zhaar.

Orange blossom water needs to age to be at its best. Its colours changes from transparent to golden. That's how we like it in Fes! It has to be sealed properly after each use or it loses its strenght.

 1 year old orange blossom water, my part of my auntie's 2013 distillation
Now it's time we talk about our recipe. 

Serves 1 person
Prep: 2 min - 2 hours in the fridge- No cooking
  • 1 big sweet eating orange (Navel is good for this), peeled "a vif"
  • 1 tsp of orange blossom water (Not rose water)
  • 2 tbsps of orange juice (I forgot to add it but you should)
  • A good pinch or cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of fine sugar (I didn't add it this time)


Slice the peeled oranges anywhere between 5 mm to 1 cm at max. 

Sprinkle the sugar and drizzle the orange blossom water.

Sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Cover with a cling film and transfer to the fridge for a couple of hours.

Serve cold. 

Note: This recipe is featured at Serena and Arianna's June's event " La via dei sapori" which is dedicated to Moroccan food. Serena's blog features lovely recipe with options for those suffering from lactose intolerance. 


  1. I loved this post and you knew that!! ;) Thanks a lot to share your knoledge full of tradition and memories. As you know I've never visited Morocco (not yet!) but I remember that in Tunis they put the ma' al zahar in the qahwa and it got a very nice aroma that I won't forget! About the salad, in Sicily we do the same but we add the onion cut into thin wedges and you get the sweet and sour. Finally, shukran bizzef and Ramadan Karim. serena

  2. Thanks my dear..

    Oh we have a salad with orange, lettuce and black olives as well which you drench with a sort of vinaigrette (olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper)..

    We also have flavoured coffee and one of them is with orange blossom water, my daily morning coffee..


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