Wakkad Tigri Mussels

Slow Food Presidium

Morocco

Fish, sea food and fish products

Back to the archive >
Wakkad Tigri Mussels

"Wakkad " is the Amazigh (Berber) term used for the mussels harvested and smoked following a traditional technique that has been done for centuries along the rocky coast of the Souss Massa region, in the West South coast of Morocco. The waters here have a high ecological value, due to the influence of the cold marine current of the Canaries and the presence of emanations from the depths of cold submarine waters. These cold waters all year round favour the presence of nutrients, serving as food for numerous fish.

In some of the villages, there have been found mussel scraps hundreds of years old. Even the dried and smoked mussels were also used as currency or as gifts.
Tigri is another Amazigh term which designs both the coastal shellfish – which are one of the main food resources of the local population – and the lunar period in which the harvest takes place. There are two Tigri periods each month: the first one occurs between the end of the lunar month and the beginning of the following lunar month; the second occurs three days before and three days after the full moon. The harvest lasts 1.5-2 hours and starts when the tide begins to fall and ends when the tide begins to rise again.

The mussels, dried and smoked in this way, can be kept for up to a year and used in the preparation of tajines (a typical dish of Maghrebian cuisine which owes its name to the clay pot in which it is cooked). The traditional technique of drying and smoking preserves and intensifies the taste of the mussels and characterises the dishes cooked with the intense touch of the sea and the smoky note which varies according to the wood used. Mussels’ harvesting is an activity that fosters social cohesion in the community. The women go to the sea together and help each other. They use different tools mainly consisting of a hook iron with which they detach the mussels from the rocks, one at a time. It is possible to use a knife as well. When the tide rises and women return to the beach, they change their clothes to dry, gather shrubs to make tea, and they arrange the mussels in a circle, side by side, closed upwards and open downwards, directly on the beach. They place the wood on top to be burnt and light a fire for partial cooking and smoking. The wood that are used to set fire are a mix of dried local shrubs: “ifarskil”, “akjboud”, and a succulent plant called “darmouss”. In some villages, they also add argan wood to the fire. No woman may start the fire in her own circle of mussels if the others have not finished theirs. If one finishes first, she will give the others a hand. The fire lasts for 5-10 minutes. After the fire has been extinguished, it is left for a few minutes to cool down. At this point all the ash residues are eliminated with a brush and the wind made with a cardboard. Then, the mussels are taken one by one, opened, and extracted with the help of the shell, as if it were a spoon, and laid out on a clean fabric in the sun. Mussels dry in the sun 1-2 days (depending on the intensity of the sun). When mussels become hard and break easily, they have reached the correct dryness. At this point, they are put in fabric bags in a cool, clean and isolated place.

Back to the archive >
The women are united in cooperatives and collect the mussels during the low tides within the Tigri period. The women collectors respect the rules according to the traditional knowledge and have included them in the presidium: a minimum size, not harvesting mussels inferior to 6cm length.
The Presidium is made up of Tigri women of six cooperatives from Grayzim, Sidi Boufdail, Sidi Bounouar, Aglou, Douira and Teguert.
Presidium coordinator
Yamna Agaliou
(agaliyoumina@gmail.com)
+212 628-547047



PRODUCTION AREA
The villages of Grayzim, Sidi Boufdail, Sidi Bounouar, Aglou (Tiznit), Douira (Chtouka ait Baha) and Teguert (Agadir)

Financed by
L’Africa per Pietro
The women are united in cooperatives and collect the mussels during the low tides within the Tigri period. The women collectors respect the rules according to the traditional knowledge and have included them in the presidium: a minimum size, not harvesting mussels inferior to 6cm length.
The Presidium is made up of Tigri women of six cooperatives from Grayzim, Sidi Boufdail, Sidi Bounouar, Aglou, Douira and Teguert.
Presidium coordinator
Yamna Agaliou
(agaliyoumina@gmail.com)
+212 628-547047



PRODUCTION AREA
The villages of Grayzim, Sidi Boufdail, Sidi Bounouar, Aglou (Tiznit), Douira (Chtouka ait Baha) and Teguert (Agadir)

Financed by
L’Africa per Pietro

Territory

StateMorocco