Home Savory Berber Couscous

Berber Couscous

Difficulté : Easy
Catégorie : Savory

I’ve had this recipe on file for over seven months and I think the weather is finally perfect for it! An icy cold which gives us a good reason (as if we needed it!) to warm up with a delicious Berber couscous. I have to thank again my friends  Lalla Myriam, Lalla Fatima and Touria for this traditional recipe from the North of the Atlas that we made together in Morocco. This couscous has the particularity of having a little milk in its broth, which gives it a softness, a silkiness and a lightness unequalled. Full of fresh vegetables, semolina as fine as sand, tender and melting lamb and tfaya, here are all the elements waiting for you to be devoured… 

Recipe of the Berber couscous of Lalla Myriam:
-1kg of fine couscous semolina (Dari if you find it!)
-1250ml of water
-4 tablespoons of oil
-80g of butter

-4 to 5 large slices of lamb collar cut from the bone
-1 teaspoon of smenn (optional but so good)
-1 cube of saffron (or a few pistils of real saffron)
-2 large onions
-8 small zucchinis 
-3 large potatoes
-4 to 6 turnips
-1kg of carrots
-3 stalks of celery (leaves)
-2 large green chilies (sweet)
-2 large pieces of pumpkin 
-300ml of milk
-salt, pepper, oil
-tfaya (recipe HERE)
Here is the essential couscoussier to make a couscous worthy of the name!

Put the meat with 4 tablespoons of oil in the bottom of the couscoussier over high heat. Add salt and pepper generously. 

Add the teaspoon of smenn. 

Also add the finely chopped onions, the chopped celery leaves and the saffron cube (or a few pistils). 

Stir well to combine all the elements in the hot oil. 

Add water,   enough to cover the meat, or a little more. 

Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables.

Halve and peel carrots, peel turnips and potatoes. In short, well prepare all the vegetables!

Bring the meat to a boil. 

Meanwhile prepare the semolina: put the semolina in a large dish and add 1 tablespoon of oil and 500ml of water (out of the 1250). Mix well and let swell until water is absorbed. 

Put half of the semolina in the upper part of the couscoussier. 

Place the compartment over the boiling meat. It is necessary to try to make the two parts as tight as possible.  Not between them of course, but it is necessary that the steam is forced to go on top rather than on the sides. By putting a cloth around the top of the bottom compartment for example. Today, there are even joints that can be adapted to certain models of couscousier. 

When the steam finally passes through the semolina (you can see it coming out), add the second half of the semolina. Let cook for 30 minutes without the lid. 

To recap: the meat boils underneath, there is a seal to waterproof the two compartments  and the semolina cooks nicely on top without a lid. I just lifted the semolina compartment for the photo of course! 

After 30 minutes, pour back all the semolina and add 3 tablespoons of oil and the rest of the water, so 750ml. This time the water must be added gradually. Add a little, then rub the semolina between your hands, lifting it to let it fall. Once the water is absorbed, you can add more (in total: 750ml). Therefore, it is necessary to proceed in stages. 

Take the meat out of the couscoussier on a plate, leaving all the juice in the pot. 

Instead, add the turnips and a little water (to replace the water that has evaporated). Cook for another 15 minutes, putting the semolina back into the upper compartment with the lid on! We always follow?

After 15 minutes, add the potatoes, green chilies and carrots. Always leave the semolina on top with the lid on. Let cook for another 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, take some of the cooking juice and put it in a small saucepan with the zucchini. By cooking them separately, they will not be too soft because they will be added at the right moment! Thank you Myriam for this tip !

Cook for 5 minutes and add the cut pumpkin. Continue cooking until you have finished preparing the semolina (see below).

When the carrots (with peppers and potatoes) are cooked (the 15 minutes of cooking time I mentioned 3 photos above…), take out the semolina and pour it into the large dish. Add the butter cut in pieces (the 80g). This is now the stage where you have to separate all the grains between the palms of your hands. Always lifting, rubbing and letting the semolina fall. This may take 15 minutes. Don’t forget to watch the zucchini cook. 

Heat the milk in a small saucepan. 

When it boils, add it to the cooking juice. 

Add the meat to the broth to heat it up heat it up
It only remains to serve everything ! The semolina must be like sand… Each grain is properly separated…

Add the meat in the middle. 

Arrange the vegetables, sprinkle with one or two ladles of broth. 

Here is our Myriam at work to finalize this wonderful couscous !
Put in as many vegetables as possible. 

Finish with lots of wonderful tfaya in the center. 

Serve with harissa, bowls of tfaya and the broth full of flavors to drizzle according to the taste of each …
Taste and melt with pleasure! 

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