Moroccan Couscous with Vegetables
Couscous salads are rather relatively novel. Couscous in Morocco is not traditionally made as a salad but as meal, complete with vegetables and meat. Every Friday Moroccan households prepare a couscous, typically with chicken or beef and seven different vegetables patiently prepared in a couscoussier and colorfully served in a gassaa, a large clay dish. Don’t ask me why exactly seven vegetables because I don’t know. It has always been this way and most people have it an entire lifetime without questioning why. It’s one of those things you simply take as self- evident.
In my book, I shared a kesksou bi sebaa khodar recipe (couscous with seven vegetables), but unlike the more industrious women of my country, I reserve it for very special occasions. This recipe is a rather more economic replica of it that’s meatless and uses fewer vegetables. It is delicious nonetheless.
Couscous with Vegetables
2 servings as a main dish, 4 servings as a side
For the stew
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and halved crosswise
3 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 3- to 4-inch pieces
1 small yellow onion, grated
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup raisins
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground chili powder
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
6 sprigs parsley
1 ¼ cups water
For the couscous
1 cup instant couscous
1 cup boiling water
1/4 teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon butter
Place all of the ingredients for the stew except the zucchini and raisins in a medium pot over medium heat. Cover with a lid and cook 10 minutes. Add the zucchini and raisins, cover and cook another 10 minutes. Discard the parsley.
Prepare the couscous by pouring the boiling water over couscous in a large bowl. Stir in the salt and butter.Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Arrange the couscous in a dome on the serving plate. Place the vegetables on the couscous. Top with the raisins and sauce.