How to cook the best Moroccan couscous, thanks Riad Laaroussa

by Jan 30, 2020Recipes

Until I cooked and tasted the best Moroccan couscous during a visit to Riad Laaroussa in Fes, I had no idea how bad my couscous was. Here’s how to make the best Moroccan couscous.

How can great couscous be so hard to cook? I’ve made it any number of times, but until I cooked and then tasted the best Moroccan couscous during a visit to Fes, I had no idea how bad my couscous was.

To realize the error of our cooking ways when it comes to couscous, you have to think about what couscous is: basically, a pasta made from semolina flour and water that has been dried and dried. Would you add hot water to pasta, let it sit in the water, and then eat it? Not really. Our instructions usually say to boil water, add the couscous, remove from heat, and let it plump for a few minutes, then serve it. How wrong that is, especially with a semolina product that is so delicate and light.

Michael and I had the pleasure of participating in a casual cooking class at Riad Laaroussa in Fes, Morocco. It’s casual because the riad’s Queen of the Kitchen, Fatima, is just going about preparing dinner and you get to hang out and help her. She’s a smiley cook, obviously happy with her work, especially in such a gorgeous, modern, spacious kitchen. A little English, a little French, a few hand signals, and all is good when cooking with Fatima.

After popping on aprons and taking a few sips of the mandatory Moroccan tea, Fatima just kept handing me vegetables and telling me to cut things. Sometimes she’d grab the knife, show me the right way, and then shove the knife back in my hand so I could try – emphasis on try – to get it right.

The magic in preparing the best Moroccan couscous

Then came the couscous prep. And frankly, this is where the magic happens in my opinion. Because Fatima’s couscous was so fluffy! Why? Because it is STEAMED (twice) and then FLUFFED after the first steam. I fluffed like a mad woman with my hands for what seemed like forever, then we steamed it again! A lightbulb went on in my head – and my arms got quite a workout too.

That night, we were able to enjoy our own creation – and it was just as fluffy and yummy as it looked earlier.

Couscous Is Served

Fatima’s fantastic vegetable couscous recipe

You have to be a little creative with our recipe you can download because Fatima doesn’t measure a dang thing.

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1 Comment

  1. Henri Laborde

    Steaming the vegetable broth soaked (hot) couscous grain for about 20 minutes in a couscousier is vital. While steaming, you fluff up the grain with a long handled spoon. After grain is cooked, you transfer it to a bowl where more hot broth, melted butter, and some salt have been added. The vegetables, including potatoes, carrots, turnips, green beans, garbanzos, zucchini, etc. must be cooked in a pressure cooker. Spicing is your choice. Meat is optional, with lamb and chicken preferred by many. I’ve been cooking couscous like this for over 35 years, as a large family gathering special meal. Out of time for more details!

    Reply

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