Friday, 4 June 2010

Friday Couscous

Every Friday is prayer's day and couscous day in Morocco. After the friday long praying, all the families get together to eat their homemade CousCous and Vegetable (w/Meat) Tagine.

The ladies in Marrakech in most households would be cooking in the morning to serve at lunchtime.
CousCous is so tasty, yet very digestable and light.

My partner and I go to my friend's house for a real homemade lovely couscous dish. It's made by his mother who is now turning over 80years old, and who really knows how to cook the traditional way.

Moroccan Friday Couscous dish is a social event, and is eaten normally in a very large dish and is shared.
What is unique about the way they eat are:

(1) use your right hand

(2) be careful just to eat what is in front of you.

Moroccans have very delicate hands and are able to eat without forks or knives, elegantly. They just use their right hand to form a ball of couscous, whilst adding the meat and vegetable chunks too.

I always enjoy watching my partner eat with his hands. It's fascinating for a girl like me, who came from a country using chopsticks!

And because all the guests sitting at the table would share from the same dish, you will need to eat and dig with your hand, what is in front of you. There is a territory of where you can eat, and if you cross the will be in trouble

Here is a nice CousCous with Beef & Vegetable receipe, I've found. As my partner and friends love couscouse, I'd like to make the effort to cook a nice friday couscous, for the next occassion..

Couscous with Beef & Vegetables
Serves 4-6
Cooking Time: 30 minutes preparation total, about 2 hours


•1 pound of beef
•2 onions
•3 tomatoes
•A variety of vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, turnip, zucchini
•1 green chili pepper, optional
•1 bunch parsley
•1 dash saffron or yellow colorant
•Salt & pepper
•1 pound non-instant couscous
Clean and cut beef into bite-sized pieces. Slice onion in thin strips and roughly chop tomato. Saute onion, beef, saffron/yellow colorant, salt and pepper for about 15 minutes. Cover half way with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add more water to cover everything and let boil for half an hour.

Clean and cut vegetables in large chunks. Add vegetables to pot and cover with water as needed.

Put couscous in a shallow plate or the bottom of a large tagine. Add 1 cup of water and pick up handfuls of the couscous and rub between the palms of your hands to incorporate water. Do this until all the grains are moistened by the water. Using the steamer part of the pot, put the couscous in the steamer and sift through the holes back into the dish breaking up any chunks of couscous left over. Add the couscous to the steamer and place over the pot.

Clean a small bunch of parsley and tie with cooking string. Add to pot with whole uncut chili pepper (if using). You can do this just before you add the steamer full of couscous to the pot.

Let the pot continue to boil for about 20 minutes allowing the steam to rise through the couscous. Remove the steamer pot and transfer the couscous to the shallow dish you used to roll it the first time. You can allow it to cool for a few minutes since you’ll be handling it with your hands again. Roll the couscous adding an additional 1/2 cup of water. Add back to steamer and place on top of pot for another 20 minutes. Repeat this step one more time which will be the third steaming. When handling the couscous during the preparation, try to use a light hand so that the couscous does not get compacted during any of the steps.

To serve, place the couscous on the plate and add a little of the juice from the stew over it. Arrange the meat in the middle of the plate on top of the couscous and arrange the vegetables on top and around the meat. Pour more of the juices from the pot over the dish.

My favorite place to hang out on a friday night, after a nice couscous...Le Comptoire


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