Inside the Moroccan Kitchen

October 29, 2012 • Letters from..., Print • Views: 1282

by Charley Locke

buying spices in the Rabat souk (marketplace) (Locke/TYG)

Couscous plays a vital role in Moroccan cuisine. On Friday, Islam’s day of prayer, Moroccans go home for lunch to eat couscous and rest with their extended families. The meal takes an entire morning to prepare, as the grain must continually be removed from the couscoussier and fluffed together. Often, the older women of the family come together to prepare the couscous, unlike most meals of the week, which as of recently are prepared and eaten with the immediate family. The tradition of Friday couscous brings together the extended family once a week, lending the meal some of the feelings of community that have faded as the nuclear family structure in Morocco has risen.

Note: Moroccans traditionally eat the dish out of a communal gsaa with their hands. It is served alongside leben, or Moroccan buttermilk.

vegetables in the Rabat souk (Locke/TYG)

***

 Ingredients:

4 cups dry couscous grain
A few pieces of chicken
3 tomatoes
1 onion
2 tablespoons turmeric
2 tablespoons ginger
1 1⁄2 tablespoons pepper
3 tablespoons salt
3 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup olive oil
1 handful parsley
1 packet (0.3 grams) saffron
2 cups of boiled water
8 long carrots
1⁄2 a cabbage head
6 zucchini
2 squash
3 potatoes
2 white sweet potatoes
1 cup fresh fava beans
1⁄2 cup chickpeas (soaked in water overnight)
5 tablespoons fermented butter or olive oil

Serves approximately 8.

 ***

 Directions:

1) Press couscous grain into the bottom of the couscous platter.

couscous grain (Locke/TYG)

2) Put the meat into the pot.
3) Cut the tomatoes and onion in half and grate them into the pot.
4) Add in the turmeric, ginger, pepper, salt, saffron, 1 cup of vegetable oil, and the olive oil.

add the spices into the pot (Locke/TYG)

5) Tie up a bunch of parsley and add to pot.
6) Put the pot on medium flame (no lid). Leave for 5 minutes.
7) Pour in 2 cups of boiled water. After 5 minutes, pour in 2 more cups of boiled water.
8) Peel and cut in half the carrots, cabbage, zucchini, squash, sweet potatoes, and pota- toes. Soak in a bowl of cold water.

cut and add the vegetables (Locke/TYG)

9) Place the fava beans in a separate bowl of cold water.

fava beans (Locke/TYG)

10) After 10 minutes, place the couscous grain in the top pot. Place plastic over the lip of the bottom pot and place top pot above.
11) After 50 minutes, add vegetables to the lower pot.

vegetables and meat cooking (Locke/TYG)

12) After 40 minutes, pour the couscous grain into the platter. Pour 3-4 cups of cold water on top and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Fluff the grain around with your hands to break up the clumps. Cover it with a cloth.

cover the couscous and allow it to soak (Locke/TYG)

13) After 30 minutes, add 2 cups of vegetable oil and fluff the couscous grain around again. Add 2 cups of cold water, break up the clumps, and cover with a cloth.
14) After 30 minutes, put the couscous back in the top pot.
15) After 15 minutes, put half of the couscous grain into the platter. Add 3 tablespoons of fermented butter and fluff with hands.

fluffing the couscous (Locke/TYG)

16) After 5 minutes, dump the rest of the grain into the platter.
17) Pour 2 cups of water into the big pot.
18) After 5 minutes, turn off the flame. Put 2 tablespoons of fermented butter into the pot.
19) Fluff again and then spread it equally around the platter. Ladle contents of the pot on top of the grain.
20) Pour the remaining sauce into bowls and serve alongside the couscous to add onto each individual portion of the couscous.

finished couscous (Locke/TYG)

CHARLEY LOCKE ’14 is a Humanities major in Calhoun College. Contact her at charlotte.locke@yale.edu.

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