Couscous Tfaya with Caramelized Onions and Raisins

I have been making a lot of couscous dishes lately, mostly the traditional ones that are served as a main dish, rather than couscous salads I often make.

You see, I’m feeling a bit homesick right now, and when that happens I crave authentic dishes more than anything else.

I’m counting down the days until my visit and looking forward to (hopefully) good weather and a stay in the Ourika Valley at the foot of the Atlas Mountains possibly here.

Tfaya couscous is served with caramelized onions and raisins, and a flavorful, earthy sauce. It has always been one of my favorite ways to eat couscous.

I simply love it. I encourage you to make it and take the time to savor spoonful after comforting spoonful.


Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 50 min


For the chicken

  • 1 pound chicken breast, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ras el hanout (I used this one)
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • A pinch of saffron (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth
  • 8 sprigs parsley

For the caramelized tfaya

  • 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup golden raisins

For the couscous

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups instant couscous


Step 1: In a medium pot over medium heat, combine the chicken and onion with oil, ginger, ras el hanout, turmeric, saffron (if using), salt, and pepper.

Step 2: Sauté, turning occasionally until the onions are translucent and the chicken is golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the broth and parsley sprigs and cook, covered, for 45 minutes. Discard the parsley.

Step 3: Meanwhile, to make the tfaya, place the onions, cloves, and cinnamon stick in a large saucepan. Cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower the heat to medium, and continue cooking until the onions are very soft, 20 to 30 minutes.

Step 4: Drain and discard the cinnamon stick and the cloves.

Step 5: Place the onions back in the saucepan. Add the sugar, ground cinnamon, and butter and caramelize over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring frequently in the beginning and constantly toward the end.

Step 6: Add a tablespoon or two of water if necessary. When the mixture is dark brown, add the raisins and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Step 7: Boil the water with salt and olive oil. In a large bowl, pour the boiling water over couscous. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Step 8:Arrange the couscous in a large serving dish. Place the chicken in the center and surround it with the caramelized tfaya. Moisten the couscous with a few ladles of the remaining sauce. The couscous, chicken, and tfaya should be served warm.

Jennifer Dumas

My name is Jennifer! Welcome to Dinners and Dreams. My goal here is to encourage you to try out recipes you never thought you could make at home. Furthermore, I also review products that I have used in the past or currently using to make every day buying decisions easier and to ensure you get the best value for your money.

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