Essaouira – “This isn’t couscous,” a Moroccan pal instructed me whereas we perused pre-packed lunches within the chilled meals part of the Marks and Spencer close to Victoria station in London. Wanting on the plastic pot of chilly couscous adorned with cooked peppers and raisins, I had no concept what she meant.
4 years later, after I see “Moroccan couscous” marketed in British supermarkets, I really feel surprisingly pissed off and wish to inform different buyers that they’re being duped.
Moroccan couscous doesn’t are available plastic packaging with soggy grilled peppers and three dry raisins: Moroccan couscous is fantastically steamed greens, fluffy grains, and tender meat.
True Moroccan couscous is a household united round a desk.
In the course of the summer season, my husband’s nieces and nephew spend their college holidays with their grandparents; my father-in-law’s brother and his household come to spend the month in our city; and my husband’s maternal grandmother and aunts journey south to go to their blad (countryside the place their household come from).
The household house is filled with noise, stuffed with motion, laughter, and sensible jokes. And, on Fridays, it is filled with couscous.
My husband’s great-aunt rolls balls of couscous with one hand, no cutlery wanted; his grandmother takes out her false tooth to tuck into the comfortable, steamed greens and caramelized onions; and the kids combine couscous grains with lben (lassi or buttermilk).
Learn additionally: Frenchman Says Consuming Kebab, Couscous Synonymous with Maghrebization
Couscous, and the household unity that comes with it, is a convention that I would like my son to develop up having fun with, and I can’t at all times anticipate another person to do the cooking. So, I’ve needed to learn to make couscous like a Moroccan mum.
My first couscous lesson was with my husband’s aunt in Casablanca, and was taste-tasted by her very exacting husband following his Friday prayers. I have to admit, he did have some notes however total was very beneficiant and appeared to suppose my couscous abilities had potential!
My first try at making couscous. Photograph credit score: Madeleine Handaji/Morocco World Information.
Since then, I’ve honed my couscous making techniques and burned the guidelines of my fingers a number of occasions. You’ll perceive why in the event you maintain studying!
Every part you’ll want to make couscous like a Moroccan mum
From watching a number of Moroccan mums cooking and studying plenty of recipes, I’ve discovered that no two recipes or ingredient lists are the identical. Relying on the area, the season, and the household there are plenty of variations. My recipe follows the strategy my mother-in-law makes use of, with one or two of my additions.
Making couscous is just not easy and, I’m afraid, requires some key tools. (I additionally advocate ensuring somebody is accessible to assist with the washing up afterwards!)
First, you want a big dish, or gasaa—that is essential for separating the couscous grains in order that they continue to be fluffy and don’t stick collectively.
Attempt to not burn your fingers whereas rolling the new couscous. Photograph credit score: Madeleine Handaji/Morocco World Information
Additionally, you will want a couscous pot (an enormous steamer).
This couscous steamer is crucial for making actual Moroccan couscous. Photograph credit score: Madeleine Handaji/Morocco World Information
I want to make use of wholemeal couscous, however the steps are the identical for white or wholemeal. My mother-in-law, who makes scrumptious couscous, often does half and half as she says the feel is best this fashion.
Couscous grains will be purchased in several sizes: High-quality, medium, and enormous. I have a tendency to make use of the medium as I discover it simpler to work with.
Though I’ve to confess to being a quite random prepare dinner in that I hardly ever comply with recipes and have been recognized to start out cooking with out even checking I’ve all of the components, I’ve to advocate studying via all of the steps of the recipe earlier than beginning as the strategy requires plenty of concurrent exercise.
Learn additionally: The Diplomacy of Couscous within the Maghreb
Time for a visit to the souk
This recipe requires fairly a number of components. I like so as to add plenty of greens as each my husband and I want the greens to the precise couscous. Additionally, they’re incredible for weaning infants; our son loves the carrots and pumpkin.
500g of couscous
1 kg of lamb meat, ideally on the bone and minimize into simply shareable chunks
5 or 6 giant carrots
A big hunk of pumpkin (or an entire butternut squash in the event you can’t get pumpkin)
1 / 4 of a cabbage
2 white onions (or 1 giant one)
A big handful of chickpeas (dried or canned)
An enormous blob of butter
A beneficiant bunch of parsley
2 or three cloves of garlic
Black pepper and salt
One or two saffron threads
Now put your apron on
As I discussed earlier than, there are plenty of steps to this recipe and timing is the whole lot. Cooking like an actual Moroccan mum takes plenty of focus!
Your couscous is able to go—all you want is a spoon for each diner. I often add tfaya (onions and raisins caramelized in butter and honey) on the highest of the couscous for just a little sweetness, however it’s not crucial.