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 plated 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 economical version 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
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground chili powder
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
6 sprigs parsley
1 1/3 cups vegetable broth or water
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (optional)
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 (and chickpeas, if using), 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.