Couscous (North Africa)

couscousCouscous seems to have originated in the region from eastern to northern Africa, where Berbers used it as early as the 7th century. Couscous is so versatile and highly nutritive so it’s a staple in North African and Middle Eastern dishes. Couscous can be mixed with vegetables, legumes, meats, or fish, and can also be eaten with butter or fresh fruit.

Thank you, Cooking with Alia for your Couscous with Seven Vegetable recipe!


Couscous Ingredients

  • 500 grams dry couscous (not instant)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or Moroccan smen)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Water

Meat Ingredients

  • 500 grams lamb or beef, cut into large pieces
  • 1 tomato, grated and skin discarded
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • A large pinch saffron threads
  • A bouquet of fresh parsley and cilantro, tied together
  • 2 cups dry chickpeas, soaked overnight


  • 3 carrots
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2-3 turnips
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1/2 of a small cabbage
  • 1-2 small sections of pumpkin
  • 1 red chili pepper


  1. Peel and cut the vegetables.
  2. Prepare Meat. In the bottom of the couscous pot, combine the meat, olive oil, saffron, turmeric, ground ginger, pepper, and salt. Add the chopped onion, and mix. Brown the meat for a few minutes, then add the grated tomato and the fresh herbs. Cover meat with water. Drain the chickpeas and add them to the rest of the ingredients. Cover and let the meat cook for around 20 minutes.
  3. Prepare Couscous. Place the couscous in a large plate or bowl. Add some cold water and make to coat all couscous with water. Place top of couscous pot onto a plate to minimize kitchen mess, and transfer the couscous into the couscous top.
  4. After cooking the meat for 20 minutes, place the couscous top over the couscous bottom. Seal both pots with a cheesecloth or foil to reduce loss of steam. After 5 minutes of so, you will notice steam rising from the couscous. Now start your timer, and let the couscous steam for 15 minutes.
  5. Empty the couscous onto the large plate and gently break the couscous grains with a fork to remove lumps. Add vegetable oil, and continue fluffing the couscous. Add a large pinch of salt. Mix. Add a little bit of water, and continue fluffing. Let couscous rest.
  6. Cook Root Vegetables. Cook carrots, sweet potatoes, and turnip. Place the vegetables in with the meat and add boiling water to cover it all.
  7. Transfer the couscous back into the top of the pot and place back over meat, sealing both pots. After you notice steam rising from the couscous, start your timer again for 15 minutes. Empty couscous onto the large plate and fluff, adding a little water, gently breaking the lumps up again, and rest for 5 minutes.
  8. Check on root vegetables. Once cooked, remove them from the bottom pot and place on a plate. Replace with zucchini, pumpkin, and cabbage.
  9. Once again, transfer the couscous back into the top of the pot and place back over meat, sealing both pots and steam again for 15 minutes, or until done. Empty the couscous in the large plate, and fluff again with butter.
  10. Check Meat & Vegetables. Remove the ones that are ready out of the pot. Remove the herbs and discard. Once the meat is cooked, add all the vegetables back into the bottom of the pot and simmer until done.
  11. Plate Couscous. First place the couscous grains in a dome shape. Pour some of the broth over the couscous grains. Place the meat in the center. Arrange the vegetables around and on top of the couscous. In a separate bowl, pour the broth and serve on the side.




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