Moroccan Couscous Recipe
Couscous is a traditional and very popular dish in Morocco. It is often enjoyed on Fridays, a special day of the week. This recipe is for the classic Moroccan couscous with meat and seven vegetables. It’s a delicious and rich dish that requires some traditional techniques. Here is how to make it:
Ingredients For the Couscous:
- 1/2 kg of special semolina for couscous
- Sunflower oil
For the Stew
- 1 kg of meat (you can use lamb or beef)
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 2 teaspoons of ginger
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- A pinch of saffron
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
- A small bundle of parsley and cilantro, tied with a thread
- 2 cups of chickpeas (soaked in water overnight)
For the Vegetables
- 3 white turnips, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 1/4 of a cabbage, preferably with leaves attached to the base
- 5 large carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 4 pieces of red pumpkin (about the size of your palm), with the peel on
- 3 zucchinis, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 2 hot peppers
Preparing the Stew
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot for the stew.
- Add the meat, salt, black pepper, ginger, diced tomatoes, sliced onions, and the bundle of parsley and cilantro. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat absorbs the spices and the oil.
- Add the soaked chickpeas and two cups of water. Cover the pot and let it simmer.
Preparing the Couscous:
- While the stew is cooking, prepare the couscous. Spread the couscous grains in a large, flat container.
- Gradually add water to the couscous and use your fingers to create waves through the grains. This ensures that water is evenly distributed without clumping. Add a little salt.
- Allow the couscous to rest for a minute or two, and then place it in the perforated container of your couscous maker. Place it on top of the stew pot without covering it and steam for 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the couscous container and add approximately one liter of water to the stew.
Transfer the steamed couscous to the same container and use a ladle or small plates to separate the grains. Add a little more water and vegetable oil. Continue stirring until the water is absorbed and the couscous cools.
- Place the couscous container back in the stew pot and steam for another 5 minutes. Repeat this process 3-4 times until the couscous grains are fluffy and well-cooked.
Cooking the Vegetables
- As the meat simmers, check it occasionally. When it’s about 3/4 done, add the turnips and cook for 10-15 minutes.
- Put carrots and cook for approximately an additional 6 minutes.
- Add the zucchinis, pumpkin pieces, and cabbage. Add the fastest-cooking vegetables last. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Be mindful not to overcook.
How to Serve Moroccan Couscous
- In Morocco, couscous is typically served on a large communal platter where diners share the meal.
- Start by placing the couscous on the platter, creating a hollow in the center.
- Separate the broth from the meat and vegetables. Drizzle the couscous with some of the broth.
- Arrange the meat in the center hollow and place the vegetables around it, creating an attractive presentation.
- Optionally, add hot peppers for those who enjoy spice, and drizzle more broth over the couscous.
- Any remaining broth can be served in small bowls alongside the dish for those who want to add more to their couscous.
- Serve the couscous hot.
- You can remove the bouquet of parsley and cilantro when serving, depending on your preference.
- Feel free to adjust the vegetables based on what’s available and your preferences.
If you don’t have a couscous pot, you can adapt a regular pot with an aluminum pasta strainer and a lid.
- For individual servings, you can put the couscous on one plate and the meat and vegetables on another or serve each diner individually.