Vegetables With Couscous

Couscous Bidaoui

A classic dish from the Moroccan cuisine: Couscous Bidaoui. It very likely originates from Casablanca. Making couscous is all about steaming the semolina in a couscoussier and while doing this create a rich broth and cook the meat (lamb or beef) and the vegetables with various herbs and spices. It doesn’t work with instant couscous, so what to do in case you don’t have a couscoussier? Our challenge is to cook something that somewhat resembles a classic dish without having the essential equipment.

Let’s talk about things we do have: lots of vegetables! The classic couscous Bidaoui contains vegetables such as onions, turnips, carrots, chickpeas, tomatoes, courgette, pumpkin and cabbage plus herbs like parsley and cilantro. That shouldn’t be too difficult so let’s start cooking!

Wine Pairing

A wine from the French Alsace, for instance a Gewurztraminer (an aromatic white wine with a touch of sweetness) will be very nice with the vegetables and the spices. You could also go for a glass of Rosé (Côtes de Provence for instance) or a red wine, provided it’s not too powerful. Pinot Noir would be good choice.

What You Need

  • Onions
  • Turnips
  • Carrots
  • Chickpeas
  • Courgette
  • Cabbage
  • White Raisins
  • And we added Red Bell Pepper, Garlic and Red Chilli
  • Turmeric Powder
  • Cumin Seeds
  • Cinnamon Stick
  • Vegetable Stock
  • Preserved Lemon
  • Couscous (one cup)
  • Butter
  • Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Black Olives
  • Cilantro

What You Do

If using dried chickpeas: soak these overnight. Start by slicing and cutting the vegetables. In a large heavy pan glaze the onions. Then add the garlic, followed by the carrot and the turnip. Make sure they are nicely coated with olive oil. Continue by adding the chickpeas, the courgette, the bell pepper, a bit of chilli and the white raisins. Crush the cumin in a mortar. Add stock, cumin, cinnamon stick and turmeric and let simmer for 30 minutes at least. Use plenty of stock because you will need one cup for the couscous. When the vegetables are nearly ready, add the roughly chopped cabbage and a few slices of preserved lemon. In parallel make the (instant) couscous (this will normally take 5 minutes) using one cup of the cooking liquid. When ready use a fork to make the couscous fluffy and add some butter. Create a ring of couscous and add the vegetables to the centre. Perhaps some black pepper. Sprinkle with cilantro and add a few olives.

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