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Maghrebian Cuisine

Couscous for Every Taste


Couscous is a staple in all countries of the Maghreb. Though it is a little different in every country, the basis is always the same, semolina. The garnish can be chicken, lamb, beef, vegetables or fish, all of which are usually spiced up with cinnamon, cumin, saffron, paprika, turmeric, black pepper, fefla soudania (similar to cayenne pepper), ginger, clove, allspice, coriander seed, fenugreek and caraway seed.

Whether you buy the ready-to-serve or traditional variety, couscous must always be steamed. Instant couscous only requires that you boil the suggested amount of water, remove from heat, add the couscous and let stand for a few minutes to soften. Just before serving, loosen and separate the semolina with a fork.

Couscous can also be steamed in a couscous kettle for 40 minutes or so. (The base of the kettle is designed to steam the meat and vegetables). If you do not have a couscous kettle, use a large pot in which you insert a colander or a steam basket.

Quick Chicken Couscous for 4

A weekday meal that is quick to make and is sure to be appreciated by all!

  1. In a large pot, place 4 to 6 chicken legs and brown in a little olive oil with minced onion and garlic.

  2. Next, add a few carrots cut in sections, a few potatoes and parsnip cut in pieces, and a coarsely chopped cabbage.

  3. Once all the vegetables have been browned, add a large can of diced herbed tomatoes.

  4. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes on the stovetop and serve on a bed of couscous.

Metro has some excellent couscous recipes:

Unlock the secret of tajine cuisine

A mystical blend of spices, sweet-salty sensations, Tajine is a delicious Maghrebian specialty.

A Healthy Meal

Most tajine recipes have one thing in common: Even though a variety of ingredients are brought together, each recipe invariably includes only a few spoonfuls of olive oil. Add fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts or legumes, meat or fish, a few magical spices, and you're done! A healthy dish, seductive and bursting with flavour, tajine compares favourably with Mediterranean cuisine acclaimed by food lovers who appreciate the virtues of the olive and its oil, fish and fresh peppers.

The Tajine: Food and Serving Dish

Tajine is also the name of the container in which the food is cooked and served. If you do not own a tajine, a clay pot or casserole will do just as well. Cast iron cookware has replaced earthenware to cook over electric or gas heat.

Traditional Tajine Spices:

  • saffron
  • pepper
  • ginger
  • flat parsley is favoured among fine herbs

However, proponents of tajine cuisine often depart from these strict guidelines owing to their curiosity and willingness to try new pairings. That's why you'll now find cumin, coriander, cinnamon and tumeric, star anise and cloves gracing our tajines.

Here are a few good combinations for an excellent Tajine:

Meats: lamb, beef, duck, chicken

Vegetables: squash, peppers, onion, celery, carrot, potato

Dried fruits: prunes, apricots, figs, raisins

Spices: cinnamon, cayenne pepper, turmeric, clove, saffron, cumin, ginger

Herbs: thyme, rosemary, coriander, mint

When cooking is complete, add slices of lemon, slivered almonds, a few olives and perhaps a good teaspoon of honey to make the dish even more traditional.

The Absolute Rule!

The only thing to remember is that, while the ingredients are cooking, they should never be stirred. All the ingredients must cook one on top of the other and long enough for the flavours to blend.

Prepare a Tajine in 7 Steps

  1. Slice an onion, add some garlic and strips of red pepper and brown in a small amount of olive oil in a casserole.

  2. Let it all soften about ten minutes, add the spices, brown a minute or two longer.

  3. Now add the meat and brown—chicken or other poultry, lamb or veal.

  4. Once the meat is caramelized, top it with quartered tomatoes or fennel, halved artichokes, fresh or dried figs or apricots, cashews or beans... the choice is yours.

  5. Add enough water to cover, place lid on casserole and cook gently 30 to 45 minutes.

  6. To serve, use a tajine dish that you can bring to the table.

  7. Be sure to include some small finger bowls. Your guests are apt to get caught up in the spirit of the moment and eat with their fingers like real Moroccans!