Murcia offers a large selection of fresh produce, meat, fish and wine. We pride ourselves on combining ingredients and traditions to create some of the most extraordinary dishes in Spanish cuisine.
The gastronomy of the Murcia region is based on the abundance of fresh produce from the famous “huerta murciana” (Garden of Murcia), vegetables and herbs of many varieties. The menu of typical Murcian dishes and meals is wide. Meat and fresh fish from the Mediterranean are also very important. Among the various traditional recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation, we will show you the most typical dishes of Murcia.
There are eight designations of origin in the Murcia region, including Calasparra rice, Jumilla pears, Murcia al Vino cheese, Murcia peppers and Jumilla, Bullas and Yecla wines.
What is the most typical dish of Murcian cuisine?
There is no special food. There are various typical dishes such as “marinera”, “zarangollo”, “pisto”, “pastel de carne” or “paparajotes”.
Traditional Murcian cuisine
Appetizers, or entremeses as we Murcians call them, are an essential part of our gastronomy. Tomatoes, onions or cucumbers are the basic ingredients for the preparation of salads and occupy a good place in Murcian cuisine thanks to the importance of the traditional garden linked to the cultivation of vegetables and fruit. Among the best known are: the Murcian salad, the pisto, the frito de verano, the caracoles chupaeros, the bonito con tomate, the caballitos, the tigres, the pastel de carne, the morchilla de verano and the zarangollo.
Even stews or “spoon dishes”, as they are called at home, are part of the most traditional recipes of Murcian gastronomy. Their recipes have a high caloric value, but they have an unmistakable flavor for the most refined palates. We can highlight the stews that combine meat and legumes such as mondongo, gazpacho jumillano, hot with pelotas, cocido with pelotas, gachasmigas, michirones, olla gitana, … Among the fish stews we find cod meatballs, cod with potatoes, …
The Region of Murcia has a great rice-growing tradition. We find Calasparra rice, whose raw material serves as inspiration for the preparation of a variety of dishes. The popular arroz y conejo con caracoles serranos (rice and rabbit with snails) is very popular especially in the northwest and in Vega Alta or the traditional arroz con verduras de la huerta de Murcia (rice with vegetables from Murcia’s garden). In the Mar Menor it is better known as arroz caldero or arroz con bogavante (rice with lobster). Be that as it may, the rice-based dishes of the huerta murciana are undoubtedly a real treat for both locals and foreigners.
The Mediterranean Sea provides the region with fish with its own characteristics and of excellent quality. There are traditional preparations among which the prized sea bream, prawns from the Mar Menor, sardines from Mazarrón or Almadraba tuna from La Azohía stand out. These fish are highly prized due to their low catches. One of the most characteristic dishes is the sea bream in salt, an easy and spectacular recipe that allows you to enjoy the taste of the sea in every bite.
Lamb, kid, rabbit, pork and poultry are widely consumed in Murcia. Rabbit meat is one of the most consumed meats, as our region is one of the largest producers of farmed rabbits. Lamb is also a very popular meat in southern Spanish gastronomy. Tartera caravaqueña is a typical dish of Caravaca de la Cruz, roast lamb with local thyme; in the Ricote Valley, lamb’s head in broth is famous. As for pork, it is widely used in the preparation of sausages, such as sausages, mortadella or butifarras. Finally, poultry meat, such as chicken or turkey, is widely used because these animals were traditionally kept in pens for domestic consumption.
Finally, we will mention the delicious desserts characteristic of different places in the region and consumed on specific dates. Paparajote is an authentic cultural and gastronomic icon that you cannot miss if you visit the city of Murcia. Huesos de santo, pestiños or besos de novia are other sweets that are very typical for All Saints’ Day and have Arabic characteristics. In the region of Murcia, almonds are widely used and we can taste them in cordiales, in almendrados, in almendras garrapiñadas, … These are just a few examples and we clearly see the Arabic imprint in their processing.
After your Spanish lessons, we invite you to read these typical recipes of our region:
The most important dishes of Murcian cuisine
It is a frugal and simple dish, very typical of Murcian houses, ideal to be enjoyed all year round when there are no good fresh tomatoes. It is a recipe that has been prepared in our region since the 19th century and contains products from the sea, the garden and the farm to obtain a variegated salad.
It is said that in the 18th century, stories were told about how to store the surplus tomatoes produced in the Segura garden. They were stored in glass containers, both whole and chopped, for future use. This technique gave rise to the Murcian Salad, as the people of Ribera del Segura were looking for recipes to use up the excess tomatoes they had. In all Murcian salads, the main ingredient is naturally preserved whole tomatoes and it is always accompanied by onions, hard-boiled eggs, black olives and tuna. On other occasions it may be replaced with cod and is known as mojete murciano.
Take a look at the Murcian salad recipe so you can give the impression of being a great Murciano.
It is a dish closely associated with the richness of our plant heritage, in fact all its ingredients are grown in the fields of the region.
The origin of the pisto is very ancient and the exact date is not known, but it is linked to the Muslim presence. This dish contains fresh and varied products from Murcian gardens. It prepares quickly and can be eaten hot or cold. It is an appetizer that is found at banquets and parties because it is one of the most loved delicacies by foreigners.
You will find out how to do it in the recipe.
Tostas de sobrasada
These slices of toast spread with sobrasada and grilled fresh cheese are one of the most popular dishes in Murcia’s “barracas”. There is no precise origin of this dish. A wide variety of tostas can be found in the tapas bars of the region.
See what a simple and tasty recipe you can prepare.
If you have made it this far, you may be wondering what is a tsar angle, how about what does a tsar angle contain or what is its origin, does zarangolo contain or what is its origin?
It is a very common dish in Murcian homes, also known as “revoltillo murciano“. Zarangollo used to be known as “alboronía“, an Arabic stew that the Sephardim improved and the Spanish replaced the tomatoes, eggplant and peppers with whatever they could find in the countryside. It was consumed at times of the year when meat was not eaten. This gave rise to the “zaranga” in Aragon, known as “fritada”, “frangollo” in the south or “calabacitas” in Latin America.
Originally, zarangollo was a fried dish with zucchini and onions. In later versions, potatoes or eggs were added. It is a very simple dish with excellent taste thanks to the products of the Murcian garden.
Paparajote is a typical dessert from the Murcian garden. The rustic appearance is compensated by the immense taste and juicy texture. It seems that it was the Arabs who introduced it to our culture.
Murcians have a special affection for this dessert wrapped in a lemon leaf. It is an emblem of the city’s pastry shop. Even if the recipe is made as it is, it is not easy to eat a good paparajote outside the region. The aroma of the freshly cut leaf makes it a delicacy. It is important to remember that if this is your first time trying this delicious dessert, the lemon leaf it contains should not be eaten, but only used to garnish and flavor the dough. Find out the recipe in this article.
Where can I taste typical Murcian dishes?
Along with meat pie and marinara, it is the protagonist of the typical cuisine of Murcia during the spring festivals and the September fair.
We hope you have taken note and prepared these delicious recipes at home, enjoy your meal!