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#1
^_^Chaouia^_^

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Barbusha

9 cups raw couscous (about 4 1/2 pounds)

2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups lightly salted warm water

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 medium-large onions (about 1 pound), peeled and grated

4 pounds lamb with bone in from the shoulder, ribs, and shank, trimmed of fat and cut into large chunks

3 large garlic cloves, grated or very finely chopped

1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and crushed

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 quarts cold water

2 cups dried chickpeas (about 1 pound), picked over, soaked in water to cover overnight, and drained

1 pound turnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

4 large carrots, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1 inch thick

3/4 pound green beans, trimmed and sliced 1/2 inch thick

3 medium-size zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1 inch thick

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon harisa (optional) per diner


1. Place half the couscous on a platter or earthenware dish with shallow sides. (You could also use a large aluminum roasting pan, the kind you would use to roast a turkey.) Spread the couscous around and begin moistening with the warm salted water a little at a time until all of the water is used. Do not pour the water in all at once. Every time you add water rub it into the grains, breaking up any lumps. You may or may not need all of the salted water. Use up to 1 cup at first, working the grains with your fingers to separate and moisten them evenly. Work in a circular, rotating motion, constantly raking and forming them into small marble shapes of soft dough. Rake with one hand and, with the other rub them into smaller pellets about 3 millimeters in diameter. If the mixture becomes too wet, add a little dry couscous and start again. Continue in this manner, adding more couscous and water, until all the grains are moistened. The couscous should be evenly wet, not soggy, and even-sized. If necessary, shake the couscous through a large-holed, flat, and high-sided sieve, breaking up large pellets with one hand. You may want to sieve two or three times to make sure that each pellet is individual, although the same can be achieved by properly raking and rubbing with your fingers.

2. Arrange the couscous on a large white dish towel or a section of a sheet and dry for 1 to 2 hours (depending on the humidity in the air). Using your fingers, brush the little pellets of semolina with some olive oil so they are all coated. Cut a piece of cheesecloth and with it cover the holes on the bottom of the couscoussière and up the sides. The cheesecloth is not used to keep the couscous from falling through--it won’t--but to facilitate transferring it during the several drying processes. Transfer the couscous to the top portion of the couscoussière. Set aside until needed.

3. In the bottom of the couscoussière, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then cook the onions until soft and golden, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the lamb and brown on all sides for 15 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes, cayenne, salt, and pepper and mix well. Pour in the cold water and drained chickpeas, bring to a boil over high heat, and add the turnip. Reduce the heat a little to medium-high, so that the top of the bubbling broth is about 1 inch below the rim of the pot. After 20 minutes, add the carrots and keep at a boil. Add the green beans and zucchini 20 minutes after you put the carrots in.

4. Place the top part of the couscoussière on top of the bottom vessel. You do not need to cover it. Seal the two together with a rope made of flour and water (called the qufila in Arabic). Mix 1/2 cup flour together with enough water to roll it out as you would play dough. (Some couscoussière fit tight enough so that you need not make a seal. If you have improvised a couscoussière with a pot and a colander, then you should make the seal.) You may have to steam the couscous in two batches. Steam for 50 minutes and then remove to an aluminum roasting pan and rub together with your hands, breaking up lumps, so all the grains are separate.

5. Return the couscous to the couscoussière to cook until the couscous is tender, another 50 minutes, adding water to the broth if you feel it is too thick and evaporated. Repeat the rubbing process again and for every batch you need to cook. At this point the lamb should be tender, almost falling off the bone. Turn the heat off, check the seasoning, and leave the broth in the pot.

6. Transfer the couscous to the aluminum pan and fold the butter into the couscous. Once the butter is melted, rub all the couscous together between the palms of your hands until everything is glistening. Mound the couscous attractively in a large serving bowl or platter. When diners serve themselves, have each person place three ladlefuls of couscous into a bowl. Top with meat and vegetables and two to three ladlefuls of broth. Add a teaspoon of harisa if desired and let the bowl sit to absorb some broth before eating.





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TamattuT nnegh machi ghir i waghrom
Tattali zang u yis wa Traffed' agastur."
The shawi woman isn't just for house work
She rides the horse and carries a sword.

#2
Hadjer

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thnks khti
the one & only...
hadjer benz

AND U KNO THIS!!!

#3
Rima

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Are these ur own recept`?
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#4
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not all, some are from my aunt, and some my grandma used to make why? and some from friends also smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' /> do they all have to be our own?

#5
Rima

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not all, some are from my aunt, and some my grandma used to make why? and some from friends also smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' /> do they all have to be our own?


No no, i mean mashallah :mellow: ...
I don't even know how to cook a soap or anything lol.. so, it's wow mashallah how much u can make n en plus ur own (in some how)

And an other thing, what happened to the pics/vids lol.. i'm very handicap in the kitchen, so i would love to try to cook, but text is really not enough since i bairly cooked in my life.. :silenced: :unsure:

#6
^_^Chaouia^_^

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yea i am trying to get a new program for the pc inchallah to do the videos, so just a little patients sis smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' /> and will get some videos up for u on how to make certain things, i know like the breads if u watch how i do them, then they are not so hard, photos i try to take as much as possible but my stupid free subscription for my photo thing on the pc ran out so cant get them the size i want to upload, so have to have fatony or beebo help post them up for me, and i will try to the recipes as simple as possible for u, and u can always pm me if u need help ok smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

#7
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Barbusha bi’l-Bisbas



3 cups raw whole wheat couscous (about 1 1/ 2 pounds)

4 teaspoons salt

6 1/2 cups tepid water

1 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 medium-size onion, chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste dissolved in 1/ 2 cup water

6 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

2 tablespoons paprika

1/2 tablespoon freshly ground coriander seeds

1/2 tablespoon freshly ground caraway seeds

4 whole cloves

2 tablespoons hot harisa (see Variation)

2 pounds fennel stalks, leaves and some bulb, finely chopped

Leaves from 1/ 2 pound fresh coriander (cilantro; 2 bunches), finely chopped

1/2 pound scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped

4 red potatoes (1 1/ 2 pounds), peeled and diced

4 long green peppers (peperoncino)


1. Place half the couscous on a platter or earthenware dish with shallow sides (you could also use a large aluminum roasting pan, the kind you would use to roast a turkey). Dissolve 1 teaspoon of the salt in 1 cup of the water. Spread the couscous around and begin moistening it with the salted water a little at a time until all of the water is used--do not pour the water in all at once. Every time you add water, rub it into the grains, breaking up any lumps. Use up to 1/4 cup of water at first, working the grains with your fingers to separate them and moisten them evenly. Work in a circular, rotating motion, constantly raking and forming the couscous into small marble shapes of soft dough. Rake them with one hand and with the other rub them into smaller pellets about 3 millimeters in diameter. If the mixture becomes too wet, add a little dry couscous and start again. Continue in this manner, adding more couscous and water, until all the grains are moistened. The couscous should be evenly wet, not soggy, and even-sized. If necessary, although I don’t do it, shake the couscous through a large-holed, flat, and high-sided sieve, breaking up large pellets with one hand. You may want to sieve two or three times to make sure that each pellet is individual, although the same can be achieved by properly raking and rubbing with your fingers.

2. Arrange the couscous on a large white dish towel or a section of a sheet and dry for 1 to 2 hours (depending on the humidity in the air). Using your fingers, brush the little pellets of semolina with up to 1/ 4 cup of the olive oil so they are all coated. Cut a piece of cheesecloth and with it cover the holes on the bottom of the couscousière and up the sides. The cheesecloth is not used to keep the couscous from falling through--it won’t--but to facilitate transferring it during the several drying processes. Transfer the couscous to the top portion of the couscousière. Set aside until needed.

3. In the bottom portion of a couscousière (the makful), heat the remaining cup olive oil, then cook the onion until yellow and soft over medium heat, about 6 minutes, stirring a few times. Add the dissolved tomato paste, garlic, paprika, coriander seeds, caraway, cloves, the remaining 3 teaspoons salt, and the harisa to the couscousière. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, adding up to 1 1/ 2 cups water from time to time during the next 10 minutes.

4. Increase the heat to medium, add 2 cups water to the bottom portion, place the top portion on top and steam the chopped fennel, coriander leaves, and scallions for 20 minutes, covered, fluffing once in a while with a fork. You may want to seal the two portions together with a rope made of flour and water (called the qufila in Arabic). Mix 1/2 cup flour together with enough water to roll it out as you would play dough. (Some couscousières fit tight enough so that you need not make a seal. If you have improvised a couscousière with a pot and a colander, then you should make the seal.)

5. Remove the top of the couscousière and transfer the couscous to a cooling platter by picking up the ends of the cheesecloth and lifting it out. Break the grains up with your fingers, rubbing and aerating. Add the steamed vegetables and toss well. Add 2 cups water to the broth and return the couscous and vegetables to the top portion of the couscousière and then place on top of the makful, or bottom portion. Steam over a medium heat for 20 minutes, covered, fluffing occasionally with a fork.

6. Transfer the couscous and vegetables to the platter again and leave to cool and dry for 1 hour.

7. Return the couscous to the top portion again and again place the top portion on top of the makful. Add the potatoes and green long peppers to the couscous. If a lot of steam is escaping from where the top and bottom parts of the couscousière meet, seal it with a rope made out of flour and water. Steam until the potatoes and peppers are tender, about 45 minutes, over a medium heat.

8. Transfer the couscous to a serving bowl or platter and pour one to two ladlefuls of sauce over the couscous. Stir and let the grains absorb the broth. Serve.

#8
^_^Chaouia^_^

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here is for a chicken one, just follow the instructions on the barbusha at the top

2 to 4 tbsp olive oil
1 kg chicken cut into pieces
750 ml chicken stock
3 carrots, chopped
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 turnips, chopped into small pieces
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
3 zucchini, sliced
500 ml cooked garbanzo beans


Heat oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add chicken pieces and cook until brown, about 6 to 10 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add stock, carrots, onions, turnips, garlic, coriander, red pepper and turmeric to the same pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer. Add zucchini, beans and chicken. Cover and cook very slowly for about one hour until chicken is tender. add on top of the barbusha smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />





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#9
parasite

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here is for a chicken one, just follow the instructions on the barbusha at the top

2 to 4 tbsp olive oil
1 kg chicken cut into pieces
750 ml chicken stock
3 carrots, chopped
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 turnips, chopped into small pieces
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
3 zucchini, sliced
500 ml cooked garbanzo beans
Heat oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add chicken pieces and cook until brown, about 6 to 10 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add stock, carrots, onions, turnips, garlic, coriander, red pepper and turmeric to the same pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer. Add zucchini, beans and chicken. Cover and cook very slowly for about one hour until chicken is tender. add on top of the barbusha smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />


a queastion: can you skip the beans or replace them with something else?
~:{ Then which of the blessings of your Lord will you both (djinns and humans) deny? }:~
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#10
^_^Chaouia^_^

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you can skip them smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

#11
♥JaNNaH♥

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Ta'am bil marga hamra.

Recipe makes 8 servings

The following items or measurements are not included below:

1 parsnips

ras el hanout spice mix

Calories 714
Calories from Fat 275 (38%)
Amount Per Serving %DV
Total Fat 30.6g 47%
Saturated Fat 13.2g 65%
Monounsaturated Fat 12.1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.1g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 76mg 25%
Sodium 201mg 8%
Potassium 1159mg 33%
Total Carbohydrate 80.8g 26%
Dietary Fiber 8.8g 35%
Sugars 5.4g
Protein 28.6g 57%
detailed view...


Traditional North African Cous Cous (The Real Way!)

| 2½ hours | 2 hours prep |



By: Um Safia
Jun 5, 2007

This is a recipe for a fantastic traditional cous cous dish from Algeria which can also be found in Morrocco and Tunisia. Please note: the cous cous is to be steamed and not soaked...we call this Ta'am bil marga hamra.

SERVES 8 , 8 big servings

Ingredients
8 lamb chops or skinless chicken pieces, on bone but skin & fat free if possible
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
2 medium carrots
2 medium courgettes (zucchini)
2 large potatoes
1/4 swede or turnip
1 parsnip
2-3 stalks celery (or khorchef)
1 cup chickpeas, drained
2 teaspoons ras el hanout spice mix
salt & pepper
1 pinch dried mint
1 tablespoon sunflower oil or vegetable oil
1 cup of liquidised tomato puree
1 1/2 liters water
1 large green chilies (optional)
500 g medium couscous
1 tablespoon ghee (smen)
2 teaspoons butter or margarine
1 glass water

Directions

1, Finely chop the onion and garlic and place it in a large heavy bottomed pan with the meat or chicken and ras el hanout. Fry gently to seal the meat/chicken. I use my pressure cooker for this.

2, Chop the carrot, parsnip & courgette into 6ths. Cut the potato into 1/4's and roughly chop the swede. Chop khourchef or celery into roughly same size as carrot. (Peel the carrots, potatos, parsnip & swede).

3, Add the vegetables to the meat along with 1L of water and turn up heat so they begin simmering. If using the chilli add it now, along with salt & pepper. If cooking in a regular pan then cook for 40 mins like this. If using the pressure cooker as I do then 20 mins wil be enough.

4, Add the tomatos, chick peas and dried mint and 1/2L more water or enough to create a 'stew' consistency.

5, Return to heat and cook in pan for further 30 minutes and if using pressure cooker then cook on med to high for a further 25 minutes.

6, Take a 500g pack of medium cous cous and pour into a gas'a if you have one. If not find the biggest bowl you have. Pick out any 'bits' and sprinkle water - about 50mls and a tsp of salt over the cous cous and using your hand rub a tsp of oil through the cous cous to stop it sticking. Fill a couscousier or steamer half full with the couscous (as it swells).

7, When you 1st notice steam coming from the cous cous, count 10 minutes. After that remove from the steamer, place in gas'a and use your hands to 'open' the cous cous (rub it together between hands to remove clumps). This is very hot and you need to keep wetting you hand with cold water and sprinkling a little on the cous cous.

8, Return to steamer when thoroughly opened. Repeat process of steaming and opening twice more.

9, Finally remove from steamer and place back in gas'a. Open for final time and rub a tbsp of ghee or smen into the cous cous along with 2tsp of butter or margarine. Add salt to taste.

10, Serve the couscous in the gas'a with sauce on top as traditional style or in tagine etc. Usually we place the meat/chicken in place - 1 for each guest and decorate the cous cous with the veg before ladelling some of the sauce over the top.

11, If you used the chilli, put it on a plate and let people help themselves to it!

http://www.recipezaar.com/232404
Truly, to Allaah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return

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#12
♥JaNNaH♥

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oh alhamdulilah I can post again, I was trying to post recipes yesterday and not getting anywhere!!!

#13
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INGREDIENTS:

1 box couscous*
1 chicken
1 can tomato sauce
3 large carrots
1 rutabaga
1 large onion
2 zucchini
2 turnips

*Couscous can be found in international section of
grocery store, or the pasta or boxed rice section.
Cook chicken until tender and debone. Cut vegetables in
chunks (not diced) and cook in chicken broth. Add chicken and
tomato sauce and let it simmer. Follow directions on box of
couscous. Once couscous is fluffy, serve on plates and cover
it with the chicken and vegetables.

#14
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INGREDIENTS:

Serves 10. Preparation time is 20 minutes; cooking, 2
hours. Meat and vegetables for the Couscous. Soak 1 cup chick
peas overnight in water to cover. Meat: Use any of the
following combinations, or make up your own. Cut meat into
pieces (except chicken):

4 lb. lamb from neck, shoulderor flank
4 lb. combination of lamb, beef and veal
2 lb. lamb and 1 large chicken
1 large or 2 small chickens
1 to 2 soup bones (more than one type of meat make the broth even better)

Vegetables: The following mixture is typical, but you
may make your own choice according to personal taste and seasonal availability:
1 lb. carrots, peeled and halved
1/2 lb. turnips, peeled and halved
1 lb. pumpkin, cut in pieces
1/2 lb. zucchini
1/2 lb. eggplant, peeled and cut in pieces
cabbage and/or khard stalks are also used in Morocco

Other Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. oil
2 chopped tomatoes
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. chopped parsley
1 tsp. turmeric
1 or 2 hot peppers (optional)
1 lb. chopped onions
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. saffron
1 small bunch chopped fresh
coriander (optional)

In the bottom of the couscous pot or any deep kettle,
lightly brown the meat in the oil with spices, onion and
tomatoes, stirring and mixing together. Add 4 quarts of water
and salt. Bring to a boil, add presoaked chick peas and cook
on medium heat. After 1 hour of cooking, add the carrots,
turnips, parsley and coriander. Continue at a good boil so
that the liquid will reduce a little. After 30 minutes, add
the rest of the vegetables. After 2 hours of cooking, the meat
should be completely tender. Season to taste and serve with
the Couscous.

The Couscous:
Serves 10. Preparation time is 20 minutes, cooking, 1 1/2 hours.
1 (2 lb.) pkg. couscous
10 Tbsp. butter

Pour the couscous into a large bowl of cold water and
stir it around. Soak for 15 minutes, drain and allow to dry 5
minutes. Put it in the top of the couscous cooking pots, over
the boiling broth with the meat and vegetables (double boiler).
If the 2 pots do not fit together perfectly, tie a rolled wet
towel around where the 2 join to keep the steam from escaping
and to concentrate it up through the cooking grains of
couscous.

After 15 minutes, steam will come through. Continue
steaming, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Then dump the couscous
out into a large flat pan or platter. Work the butter, salt
and a sprinkling of cold water into the couscous using your
hands or the back of a wooden spoon, breaking up any lumps that
may have formed and separated the grains. Put the couscous
back in the top pot and let it steam for about 15 minutes. It
is done when it turns to a pale tan color. Taste to check
tenderness.

To serve, arrange the couscous in a rounded cone on a
large platter. Make a well in the center, like a volcano, into
which you will put the drained meat and vegetables. Spoon a
little broth over it all. Serve the remainder of the broth in
a bowl, as well as the optional sauces in a separate bowl.

#15
^_^Chaouia^_^

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Western style Algerien couscous

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked and peeled
4 cups couscous (1 1/2 pounds)
4 lamb shanks
1 stick butter
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and 1 tablespoon black pepper
Pinch of saffron
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cinnamon sticks
3 onions, quartered
6 each cilantro and parsley sprigs, tied together
6 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and quartered
1 pound carrots, cut into 2inch pieces
1 pound small white turnips, quartered 1 quince, peeled, cored and cubed 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 pound zucchini, quartered
1 fresh hot chili pepper
1 cup raisins
Ghee* Smen** (aged butter) or butter


PREPARATION: In a saucepan cover chickpeas with water and cook, covered, until tender. Drain, cool and remove skins. In bottom of a couscousi, Pre heat 5 tablespoons of butter and oil over until hot, add lamb, salt and spices, onions, herb sprigs and tomatoes and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Add 3 quarts water and chickpeas and simmer, covered, 1 1/2 hours. Cut meat into chunks, discarding bones. Add carrots, turnips and quince to lamb broth and simmer 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan cover squash with broth from lamb stew and simmer until tender. To lamb broth add zucchini, chili pepper, and raisins. Top with colander containing couscous, cover and steam 20 minutes. Dot couscous with remaining butter during last 5 minutes of steaming. To serve, spoon couscous onto serving dish and toss with Ghee*, Smen** or butter. Spread out to form a large well in center. With a slotted spoon transfer meat and vegetables into well. Add drained squash. Strain broth, correct seasoning and moisten couscous and vegetables with broth. Yield: 8 to 10 servings *Ghee (See under Condiments) **Smen (Aged butter)

#16
^_^Chaouia^_^

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Western Algerien Lemon chicken with olives cous cous

INGREDIENTS:

1 Medium onion. peeled and quartered
2 Medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 1/2 lb Chicken, skinned
2 tb Flour
1 tb Olive oil
2 1/2 c Water, divided
1/8 ts Saffron
1/2 ts Ground ginger
1/2 ts Ground cumin
1/2 ts Paprika
1/4 ts Salt
3 tb Lemon juice
Grated peel of 2 lemons
1/2 c Green olives, pitted and coarsley chopped
2 tb Minced cilantro
3/4 c Couscous
Fresh ground black pepper

In a food processor, finely chop onion and garlic. Dredge chicken in
flour. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Saute chicken
and onion mixture until mixture has softened, about 10 minutes.
Stir in one cup water, saffron, ginger, cumin, paprika, salt and
lemon peel. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 35
minutes. Remove chicken from sauce and allow to cool a few minutes.
Debone chicken and cut meat into small pieces. Put meat back into
sauce with the lemon juice, olives, cilantro and pepper. Simmer
gently 5 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil
in a medium saucepan. Add the couscous and bring back to a boil.
Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
Spoon chicken mixture over couscous and serve.

#17
♥JaNNaH♥

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isn't that tagine zaytoon? :unsure:

#18
^_^Chaouia^_^

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nope different its cous cous, western algerien style sis and very good smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

#19
♥JaNNaH♥

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What is Couscous and How Does One Prepare It?



Couscous is one of the staple foods of the Maghrib (western North Africa). Couscous is made from two different sizes of the husked and crushed, but unground, semolina of hard wheat using water to bind them. Semolina is the hard part of the grain of hard wheat (Triticum turgidum var. durum), that resisted the grinding of the relatively primitive medieval millstone. When hard wheat is ground, the endosperm—the floury part of the grain—is cracked into its two parts, the surrounding aleurone with its proteins and mineral salts and the central floury mass, also called the endosperm, which contains the gluten protein that gives hard wheat its unique properties for making couscous and pasta--that is, pasta secca or dried pasta, also called generically macaroni. Couscous is also the name for all of the prepared dishes made from hard wheat or other grains such as barley, millet, sorghum, rice, or maize.

Although the word couscous might derive from the Arabic word kaskasa, "to pound small," it is generally thought to derive from one of the Berber dialects because it does not take the article indicating a foreign language origin. It has also been suggested that the word derives from the Arabic name for the perforated earthenware steamer pot used to steam the couscous, called a kiskis (the French translation couscoussièr is the word English-speaking writers have adopted), while another theory attributes the word couscous to the onomatopoeic--the sound of the steam rising in the couscoussièr, the most unlikely explanation.


The key to preparing an authentic couscous is patience and care. Experience will prove the best guide, but these instructions are meant to cut that time down for the novice. There are two basic steps in preparing couscous before the cooking process: forming the couscous and humidifying and drying the couscous. The first of these steps, forming the couscous--that is, preparing couscous from "scratch"--is rarely done anymore, even by Moroccans, Algerians, and Tunisians. Only poorer folk, some rural populations, and Berber tribes still make couscous from scratch. The original "from scratch" process involves rubbing and rolling together large grains of hard wheat semolina with finer grains of semolina sprayed with salted water to raise the humidity of the semolina so the two sizes affix to each other to form couscous, the large grain serving as a kind of nucleus for the smaller grains. But today when one buys couscous, whether you are buying it in North Africa or at a whole food store in this country, in a box or in bulk, this first step has been done, and it is this made-from-scratch couscous you are buying. I recommend buying the bulk couscous rather than the boxed couscous. Boxed couscous is usually pre-cooked too much and the directions often (but not always) require you to boil the product. This so-called instant couscous should not be used for any of the recipes for couscous on this web site or in any of my books. Couscous is always steamed and never boiled. So when a recipe calls for couscous, you will find it sold in bulk bins at whole food or grain stores or boxed without the word "instant" on the package. At the time of this writing (2001) bulk couscous is not sold in American supermarkets, only in whole food stores. In North Africa, there are a variety of couscous products, but in this country you are likely only to find fine wheat (white) couscous and whole wheat couscous.

In Morocco, this rolling and rubbing process to form the couscous is done in a platter called a gasca, a large earthenware faience platter traditional in Fez, but sometimes made of wood. In Algeria, this platter is known by the same name, as well as lyān. In Morocco, the couscous is then dried in a midūna, a latticework basket of palm or esparto grass. Afterwards it is transferred to a tabaq, a finer kind of basket. After drying a bit, the couscous is returned to the midūna for more rolling. The couscous is then sieved in three stages through sieves with progressively smaller holes called the ghurbal qamiḥ, ghurbal kusksi, and ghurbal talac in Morocco and Tunisia, and the kharaj, rafaḍ and tanay in Algeria. It is sieved numerous times to form a uniform grain. The couscous is then left for four or five days to dry in the sun on a white sheet with occasional light sprays of water. It must be completely dry before storing. Today, modern North African couscous factories do all of this by machine, including the drying process.

The second basic step, which is the only step you need to be concerned with for the couscous you buy, is the moistening process before cooking. Your ultimate goal is to have tender, light couscous swollen with the steam vapors of the particular broth the recipe calls for.

Put half the couscous on a large earthenware platter with shallow, angular sides and sprinkle or spray with some salted water (1 cup water salted with 1 ½ teaspoons salt for every 3 cups couscous) and olive oil ( ¼ cup olive oil for every 3 cups couscous). Work the grains with your fingers to separate and moisten them evenly. Work in a circular rotating motion, constantly raking and forming small “pearls” of soft dough. Rake with one hand and rub with the other, picking the couscous up with your hand and letting it fall back onto the platter, breaking up the lumps as you go. Rake the couscous to form pellets the size of peppercorns. If the mixture becomes too wet, add a little dry couscous and start again.

Add the remaining couscous and continue raking with your fingers, adding water and oil as needed. Continue in this manner until all the grains are moistened. The couscous should be evenly wet, not soggy, and uniform in size, about 3 millimeters in diameter. It may be necessary to shake the couscous through a flat sieve, breaking apart any pellets with your hand. You may wish to sieve two to three times to make sure each pellet is separate. On the other hand, you can get each pellet to its correct size by lengthening the raking and rubbing time. The final size of each pellet should, ideally, be about 1 millimeter in diameter and the pellets should be separate from one another. If you have not achieved this, rub and rake some more.

Arrange the couscous on white kitchen towels and leave to dry for 1 to 2 hours, depending on the humidity that day. With your fingers, rub the couscous with olive oil.

Couscous is steamed one, two, or three times over broth. The number of times one steams is based on cultural preferences. I always steam couscous at least twice, but only because that is how I was taught by Tunisian and Algerian friends. The couscous is never submerged in the liquid; it is always steamed.

Couscous is cooked in a special kind of cooking ensemble called a kiskis, known by the French word couscoussièr in the West, except in Italy, where it is called a couscousiera. A kiskis consists of two parts: the bottom portion is a pot-bellied vessel for the broth while the top part fits snugly over the bottom part and has holes in its bottom for the steam to rise through, which cooks the couscous. In North Africa, they are often made of earthenware or aluminum. Fine kitchenware stores, such as Williams-Sonoma or Sur la Table, sell aluminum couscoussièrs. A makeshift couscoussièr can be made by placing a colander over a like-sized pot. The Berbers of Morocco call this bottom portion the ikineksu, while the top potion is the tikint, the bottom portion of the kiskis or couscoussièr is called a makfūl in Tunisia, a pignata in western Sicily, and a qidra in Morocco and Algeria. The top portion is also called a kiskis in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.

Cover the holes of the top portion of the couscoussièr with cheesecloth and transfer the couscous on top of the cheesecloth. The reason I recommend using the cheesecloth is not because the grains fall through the holes (they don’t) but because it is easier to move the couscous around for its several dryings. Add whatever spices, herbs, vegetables, meat or fish the recipe calls for, if any, and bring the water or broth in the bottom portion of the couscoussièr to a gentle boil. Mix the couscous gently. Mix ½ cup flour with enough water to form a dough that can be rolled out into a rope as you would roll out play dough. This flour-and-water rope is used to seal the top and bottom portions of the couscoussièr together so steam doesn’t escape. (This step is not always necessary and is up to the cook, depending on how much steam appears to be escaping.) Cook over low heat for 1 hour. Remove the couscous to a large platter and rub with salted water or butter or whatever the recipe calls for and leave to cool 15 to 30 minutes. This step is necessary; the initial steaming should not be too long because you do not want the couscous to become sticky and form a pasty dough.

Traditionally, the cook knows the couscous is done when the sound of a spoon hit against the kiskis, the top portion of the couscoussièr, makes a “heavy, coarse” (so they say) sound. The way I tell whether the couscous is done is by tasting it. The couscous should taste tender, not al dente and not mushy, the grains should be separate and taste moist, not wet and not dry.

Put the couscous back into the top portion of the couscoussièr and steam another 30 minutes. This second steaming can continue until the couscous is fully cooked. The couscous can rest for 30 minutes, covered, if desired, before serving. Some Algerian cooks steam the couscous a third time.

Now that you’ve read this process, I imagine you’ve decided that it is too much work. But let me say, lastly, that although this is really a lot of fun, you should not feel rushed when you make it, so preparing couscous for the first time is best done on a cold or rainy day when you know you’ll be indoors all day. Once you’ve made the authentic North African couscous you’ll wonder what all the fuss is in my instructions. Why, it’s so easy! (Also see The History of Couscous).

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Preparing Couscous


Couscous with Lamb
Kaskasu bi'l-Lahm

Region: Algeria
Category: Rice, Couscous, and Other Grains
Season: Any
Difficulty: Labor Intensive

In Algeria, there are a wealth of terms for a variety of hard wheat products or prepared dishes, in the form of couscous or not. Fine semolina is also used for making baghrīr and ghrāyf, a crêpe made with yeast, butter, and sugar and one made with melted butter and eggs, respectively. Algerians also have different names for different couscous dishes such as būfawar or burkūkis, a little semolina ball the same as muḥammaṣ and maghribiyya (see page 000). Among black Africans of southern Algeria, these large couscous grains are called barbūsha. Bazīn is a dough made from fine hard wheat semolina or barley, similar to the Tunisian dish except it is not leavened. Diyūl, trīd, and rishta are various terms for a variety of semolina pastry doughs or pasta secca. Shakhshūkha al-Bisakra is the name of a lasagne dough made from fine semolina, water, and salt. Dashīsha farīk is a soup made of semolina of hard wheat and farīk. There are several preparations known as dashīsha, usually a kind of soup. The famous ḥarīra, a semolina soup is also found in Algeria. Dishes that carry the descriptive shaṭīṭḥa are preparations highly spiced with hot red chiles.

The Algerian style of couscous, in its simplest form, is made of fine and medium semolina steamed over water and mixed with melted butter or samna. Algerians make couscous a little bit differently from Tunisians. Tunisians like medium-size grains of couscous and Algerians prefer them fine. The Algerians mix butter and cinnamon into the couscous while Tunisians, especially Jewish cooks, might use olive oil. The couscous is steamed two or three times and butter and cinnamon are rolled into it each time.

There are also big differences between the prepared couscous of northern Algeria and among the peoples of the Ahaggar in southern Algeria. In the Ahaggar, they often make couscous with a mixture of soft wheat, rye, and barley, while in the north it is strictly semolina of hard wheat. The couscous of northern Algeria is often called ṭa'ām (literally meaning “food,” showing the importance of couscous in daily life), a term rarely used in southern Algeria.

This recipe for couscous came about in a somewhat strange way. In the early 1990s, I was forced to cancel my research trip to Algeria previously organized by my friend Nacim Zeghlache, owing to political turmoil. In its place Nacim had the idea of concocting an Algerian gastronomic feast with authentic dishes to be cooked at my house. In my kitchen, Nacim, who is from Sétif, got together with another Algerian, Abdou Ouahab, who is from Tlemcen. Both men are very good cooks, which at first glance might seem strange for Muslim men. But it is easily and amusingly explained. Many Muslim men came to America originally for university studies, and they so missed their mothers’ cooking that they learned to cook by telephone--one hand on the frying pan and the other long-distance to mom. Little did I realize how different and contested the making of couscous is even within Algeria.

When he was growing up, Nacim’s family kept three rooms for the making of couscous grains. The family’s favorite kind of wheat for couscous was white wheat formed into minuscule grains of couscous, although Nacim’s father, and the older generation in general, prefer the whole wheat couscous. Nacim and Abdou made the couscous with my writing notes and refereeing as the two cooks constantly fought over the right way to make it. So, is this couscous from Sétif or Tlemcen? It’s a compromise that will make you very happy, if the same cannot be said for my Algerian friends.

Before proceeding, read about preparing couscous.

Yield: Makes 12 servings
Preparation Time: 5 hours in all

9 cups raw couscous (about 4 1/2 pounds)

2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups lightly salted warm water

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 medium-large onions (about 1 pound), peeled and grated

4 pounds lamb with bone in from the shoulder, ribs, and shank, trimmed of fat and cut into large chunks

3 large garlic cloves, grated or very finely chopped

1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and crushed

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 quarts cold water

2 cups dried chickpeas (about 1 pound), picked over, soaked in water to cover overnight, and drained

1 pound turnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

4 large carrots, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1 inch thick

3/4 pound green beans, trimmed and sliced 1/2 inch thick

3 medium-size zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1 inch thick

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon harisa (optional) per diner

1. Place half the couscous on a platter or earthenware dish with shallow sides. (You could also use a large aluminum roasting pan, the kind you would use to roast a turkey.) Spread the couscous around and begin moistening with the warm salted water a little at a time until all of the water is used. Do not pour the water in all at once. Every time you add water rub it into the grains, breaking up any lumps. You may or may not need all of the salted water. Use up to 1 cup at first, working the grains with your fingers to separate and moisten them evenly. Work in a circular, rotating motion, constantly raking and forming them into small marble shapes of soft dough. Rake with one hand and, with the other rub them into smaller pellets about 3 millimeters in diameter. If the mixture becomes too wet, add a little dry couscous and start again. Continue in this manner, adding more couscous and water, until all the grains are moistened. The couscous should be evenly wet, not soggy, and even-sized. If necessary, shake the couscous through a large-holed, flat, and high-sided sieve, breaking up large pellets with one hand. You may want to sieve two or three times to make sure that each pellet is individual, although the same can be achieved by properly raking and rubbing with your fingers.

2. Arrange the couscous on a large white dish towel or a section of a sheet and dry for 1 to 2 hours (depending on the humidity in the air). Using your fingers, brush the little pellets of semolina with some olive oil so they are all coated. Cut a piece of cheesecloth and with it cover the holes on the bottom of the couscoussièr and up the sides. The cheesecloth is not used to keep the couscous from falling through--it won’t--but to facilitate transferring it during the several drying processes. Transfer the couscous to the top portion of the couscoussièr. Set aside until needed.

3. In the bottom of the couscoussièr, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then cook the onions until soft and golden, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the lamb and brown on all sides for 15 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes, cayenne, salt, and pepper and mix well. Pour in the cold water and drained chickpeas, bring to a boil over high heat, and add the turnip. Reduce the heat a little to medium-high, so that the top of the bubbling broth is about 1 inch below the rim of the pot. After 20 minutes, add the carrots and keep at a boil. Add the green beans and zucchini 20 minutes after you put the carrots in.

4. Place the top part of the couscoussièr on top of the bottom vessel. You do not need to cover it. Seal the two together with a rope made of flour and water (called the qufila in Arabic). Mix ½ cup flour together with enough water to roll it out as you would play dough. (Some couscoussièr fit tight enough so that you need not make a seal. If you have improvised a couscoussièr with a pot and a colander, then you should make the seal.) You may have to steam the couscous in two batches. Steam for 50 minutes and then remove to an aluminum roasting pan and rub together with your hands, breaking up lumps, so all the grains are separate.

5. Return the couscous to the couscoussièr to cook until the couscous is tender, another 50 minutes, adding water to the broth if you feel it is too thick and evaporated. Repeat the rubbing process again and for every batch you need to cook. At this point the lamb should be tender, almost falling off the bone. Turn the heat off, check the seasoning, and leave the broth in the pot.

6. Transfer the couscous to the aluminum pan and fold the butter into the couscous. Once the butter is melted, rub all the couscous together between the palms of your hands until everything is glistening. Mound the couscous attractively in a large serving bowl or platter. When diners serve themselves, have each person place three ladlefuls of couscous into a bowl. Top with meat and vegetables and two to three ladlefuls of broth. Add a teaspoon of harīsa if desired and let the bowl sit to absorb some broth before eating. In Tlemcen they like their couscous to be swimming in broth.

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Couscous is a staple food in the Maghrib that requires very little in the way of utensils for its preparation. It is an ideal food for both nomadic and agricultural peoples. The preparation of couscous is one that symbolizes “happiness and abundance,” in the words of one culinary anthropologist.

One of the first written references to couscous is in the anonymous thirteenth-century Hispano-Muslim cookery book Kitāb al-ṭabīkh fī al-Maghrib wa’l-Āndalus. There one finds a recipe from Marrakesh, alcuzcuz fitīyānī, a couscous made for the young and described as “known all over the world.” The fact that the name is given with the Arabic article al- is a flag to the linguist that the original couscous preparation probably was not an Arab dish, but a Berber dish, because the Arabic words siksū, kuskus, and kusksi, which all mean “couscous,” do not take the article. In any case, we know that the Naṣrid royalty in Granada ate couscous, as mentioned in a culinary poem by the qāḍī (magistrate) of Granada, Abū cAbd Allah bin al-Azrak. “Talk to me about kuskusū, it is a noble and distinguished dish.” There is a recipe for couscous in another Hispano-Muslim cookbook, the Kitāb faḍālat al-khiwān of Ibn Razīn al-Tujībī, a book from either the late eleventh or thirteenth century.

The famed Arab traveler Leo Africanus (c. 1465-1550), also mentioned couscous with some delight: “Of all things to be eaten once a day it’s alcuzcuçu because it costs little and nourishes a lot.” The thirteenth-century Kitāb al-wuṣla ila l-ḥabīb fī waṣfi aṭ-ṭayyibāti wāṭ-ṭīb, written or compiled by a Syrian historian from Aleppo, Ibn al-cAdīm, identified as the grand-nephew of Saladin, the great Muslim warrior and opponent of the Crusaders, has four recipes for couscous; three are called shucaīriyya and the fourth is called Maghribian couscous. Shucaīriyya is a word used today in Lebanon to mean a “broken vermicelli” or to refer to the rice-shaped pasta called orzo.

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(Photo: Berber woman preparing couscous in Essaouira, Morocco)

These very early references to couscous show that either it is not unique to the Maghrib or it spread with great rapidity to the Mashraq (the eastern Arab world). I believe it is unique to the Maghrib and was invented there and that its appearance in the Levant is a curiosity. Personally, I agree with Professor Lisa Anderson of Columbia University, who suggests that the “couscous line” in North Africa is the Gulf of Sirte. In Tripolitania to the west, they eat couscous; and in Cyrenaica to the east, they eat Egyptian food. Couscous was only a curiosity east of the Gulf of Sirte. In the Mashraq, one form of couscous is also known by the word maghribiyya, indicating that it is recognized as a food of the Maghrib (the western Arab world). Even today couscous is not eaten that much by Libyans of Cyrenaica and western Egyptians, although it is known by them. But in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Tripolitania couscous is a staple. There is little in the way of archeological evidence of early use of couscous, mainly because the kiskis was probably a basket made from organic material set over a marmite-like terracotta bottom vessel and never survived. Some shards of a marmite-like vessel have been found in the medieval Muslim stratum at Chellala in Algeria, but the dating is difficult. Interestingly, the couscous recipes from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are no different from the ones today.

I believe couscous entered Tunisia sometime in the twelfth century, by virtue of the monumental studies of Zīrīd (972-1148) and Ḥafṣid Tunisia (1228-1574) by historians Hady Roger Idris and Robert Brunschvig, who found no references to couscous in twelfth-century Zīrīd Tunisia and many references by thirteenth-century Ḥafṣid times. The great Arab writer al-Muqaddasī (writing circa 985-990) never mentions couscous, although he is noted for writing about the foods he encountered. But couscous is mentioned in connection with many saints of Ḥafṣid times including Ibn Naji’s description of burkūkis as a large-grained couscous with meat that is virtually identical with the maghribiyya mentioned in the recipe Kaskasu bi’l-Laḥm. There is also an admiring description in the writings of Ibn Faḍlallah of Tunisian pilgrims in Mecca in the fifteenth century who magically produced a plate of couscous, accompanied with melted butter, beef, and cabbage.

By the fourteenth century, there are many references to pasta secca and couscous. In Pedro de Alcala’s Vocabulista, published in Granada in 1505, he mentions kouskoussou as a hormigos de massa (coarse-ground wheat dough). Al-Maqqarī, a historian writing in Damascus in the seventeenth century and our principal authority for the literary history of Muslim Spain, relates a story told in the fifteenth century of a man in Damascus who helps someone from the Maghrib who fell sick. In a dream the Prophet tells him that he should feed the sick man kouskoussoun, a word used as a noun. A century earlier the famed Arab traveler Ibn Baṭṭūta (1308-1378?) also mentions couscous.

One of the earliest appearances of couscous in northern Europe is in Brittany, when Charles de Clairambault, the naval commissioner, in a letter dated January 12, 1699, tells us that the Moroccan ambassador, cAbd Allah bin cAisha, and his party of eighteen had brought their own flour and made couscoussou with dates and that it was a delicious dish they made for Ramadan. But couscous made its appearance much earlier than that in Provence, where the traveler Jean-Jacques Bouchard writes in 1630 of eating in Toulon a “certain kind of pasta which is made of little grains like rice, and which puffs up considerably when cooked; it comes from the Levant and is called courcoussou.” Unexplained, and most interesting, is his identification of the couscous coming from the Levant and not North Africa.

Couscous is served with meat, fish, vegetables, and spices. Cooked simply with sour milk and melted butter, it left the hungry traveler feeling full and was the traditional food of the poorest, namely the nomadic Berbers. For centuries, black African women were employed as couscous cooks, a phenomenon that might be indicative of the sub-Saharan African origins of couscous. Even today in Morocco the dada--young black Saharan and sub-Saharan women who serve as domestics, especially as cooks--are often employed to prepare couscous. The Tuareg, a Muslim Berber tribe of the Sahara, also employ young black servant women to make couscous. Black slaves were also prominent as cooks in medieval Egyptian households and up until the nineteenth century. In Muslim Spain, too, black slaves would prepare meals in aristocratic homes while the wives would prepare the food in poorer homes.

The Berbers, to whom the invention of couscous is often attributed, call couscous sekrou or seksu and so do Moroccans of Arab origin, while it is known as maftūl or maghribiyya in the countries of the eastern Mediterranean and suksukaniyya in the Sudan. Various Berber tribes of Morocco have different names for couscous. The Abu Isaffen called it shekshu, while the Rif call it sishtu and the Beni Halima call it sisu. In Algeria, couscous is called kisksū or ṭacam, meaning “food” or “nourishment,” indicating the importance of couscous as a daily staple. Even in western Sicily I have come across couscous called by this purely Algerian Arabic expression. In Tunisia, couscous is called kiskisi, kisskiss, kuskusi, or kusksi. Very large couscous grains are called muḥammaṣ or burkūkis, while very fine grains, usually used for sweet couscous dishes, are called masfūf.

There are also local names for certain kinds of couscous preparations, such as burzqān in Béja, Tunisia, where a fine-grain couscous is mixed with fresh butter, mutton, saffron, and chickpeas, sprinkled with hot milk, and garnished with raisins, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, and walnuts. Malthūth is a barley couscous used by the poor. It is sorted carefully, cleaned, and grilled in a kind of platter called a ghanācā. It is then pounded, sieved, and dried in the open air. A second sifting collects the barley. A further sieving through a finer sieve allows for the larger grains to be retained, dashīsha, as it is called in southern Algeria, also the name of a porridge made of pounded wheat and butter. The smaller grains that have fallen through can be used for barley couscous or caṣīda or bazīn, a kind of polenta with a sauce of bell peppers, chiles, tomatoes, harīsa, onions, and a little meat. In southern Tunisia, ground fenugreek is sprinkled on the couscous.

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(Photo: Moroccan couscous)

The best and most famous couscous is made from hard wheat. Hard wheat couscous was probably invented by Muslim Berbers in the eleventh or twelfth-century Maghrib. The argument that couscous was invented in Spain, an argument based on the fact that the first written recipe for couscous is from an Hispano-Muslim cookery manuscript, is not compelling. Evidence is mounting that the process of couscous cookery, especially steaming grain over a broth in a special pot, might have originated before the tenth century in the area of West Africa where the medieval Sudanic kingdom thrived, today encompassing parts of the contemporary nations of Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Ghana, and Burkina Faso. Even today in the region of Youkounkoun of Guinea and Senegal, a millet couscous with meat or peanut sauce is made, as well as a rice couscous.

Millet was also used for couscous by the Kel Ahaggar, a nomadic people of the desert of southern Algeria, who probably learned about it in the West African Sudan, where it has been known for centuries. Ibn Baṭṭūṭa journeyed to Mali in 1352, and in today’s Mauritania he had a millet couscous: “When the traveler arrives in a village the negresses take out millet, sour milk, chickens, lotus-flour, rice, founi [Digitaria exilis Stapf.], which resembles mustard grains, and they make a couscous.” Ibn Baṭṭūṭa also mentions rice couscous in the area of Mali in 1350. Millet couscous was never as popular as hard wheat couscous because it took longer to cook and didn’t taste as good.

This claim for the African origins of couscous was originally proposed by Professor É. Lévi-Provençal, in his monumental Histoire de l’Espagne Musulmane and is suggested in the early Arabic sources on West Africa. Other studies, such as Professor Robert Hall’s, using the tenth-century work of Ibn al-Faqīh’s Mukhtasar kitāb al-buldān, also seem to support this suggestion. In West Africa, one finds sorghum, founi, black fonio (Digitaria iburua) ,and finger millet (Eleusine coracana), a cereal of Nigeria (also cultivated in India) made into couscous. The Hausa of central Nigeria and the Lambas of Togo call this couscous made with black fonio, wusu-wusu. Sorghum was a popular grain for making couscous, and the Moroccan Berber word for sorghum, illan or ilni, is the same as the word in the West African language of Songhai, illé, lending further circumstantial evidence for an African genesis for couscous.

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algerian couscous

Yield
4 Servings

Measure Ingredient
1 Can cooked chickpeas, drain
¾ To 1 lb. pkg couscous
2 larges Onions chopped
1 Carrot sliced
1 Gr bell pepper, sliced
1 Eggplant,sliced, salted &
Rinsed
1 pounds Lamb, cut in 2 inch cubes
1 Chicken cut up in 8 parts
3 tablespoons Oil
1 Pimento
4 Tomatoes, seeded, chopped
2 teaspoons Papriks
Salt
7 ounces Fresh string beans or peas
9 ounces Can artichoke bottoms
Drained
Cayenne pepper
4 ounces Butter

Place couscous in shallow pan with 4 cups water. Swirl and pour off water immediately in a sieve. Rub couscous well between hands and drop back into pan, making sure couscous is lump free. Let this dry while preparing remainders. Fry onions garlic, pepper, carrot and eggplant with chicken and lamb in oil. Then add chickpeas( if using dried ones ) and enough water to cover. Add pimento and salt and pepper to taste,Bring to a boil and fasten colander over kettle to fit snugly. Spoon couscous into colander and let steam for 45 minutes, then dump couscous back into pan to let dry again. Add tomatoes, beans or peas and cook another 1/2 hour. Now attach colander and let couscous steam another 15 minutes. Add artichoke, canned chickpeas to the stew. Cook a few minutes longer. Add some butter to the couscous and place couscous shaped into a cone on a serving platter. surround by meat and vegetables.

Note: this is only one version of many different types of couscous preparation. It is thought that the name of this grain comes from the soft rumbling noise that the couscous makes in a steamer. There is a special couscous pot but a colander can suffice.

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