In the first years of our relationship the hubby and I travelled a lot to North Africa. We were both enchanted by the deserts, the minarets and the whole hustle and bustle in the souks. I have found memories of many a night with some wonderful mint tea and the Shisha looking at the stars. I must say that stars never seem to shine as bright as they do in the desert.
Not only the landscapes and the people intrigued us, but I also fell in love with the wonderful cuisine of the Maghreb. I could walk for hours on the herb markets, tasting, smelling quit frankly just enjoying every bit of.
My kitchen cabinets are filled with aromatic spices and mixtures from my stays there.
Opening a jar of raz el hanout can bring me back to a hot afternoon in Kairouan where I learned the difference between all those mixtures with the same name. Where I laughed with the salesman who told me “ginger would make my husband hot of love”. And where a looked into the eyes of a woman wearing a veil and realised eyes can tell a story all by themselves.
On my bookshelf are a lot of Moroccan, Tunisian and Egyptian cooking books, but this couscous was made up by me. I have been making it for years but I just realised yesterday that I have never written the recipe down. That’s meanly because I never measure anything in this couscous, but also because I change the ingredients from time to time. Then I add some dried apricots, then I use some turnip in it, sometimes I leave out the tomatoes. But yesterday I actually measured it all and wrote it down… just to share the recipe with you guys!
I serve this with some couscous and merguez sausages that I buy at my local Moroccan butcher. They have a delicious cilantro flavour and are hot and spicy.
1 courgette, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 carrots, sliced
1 sweet potato, diced
1 can of chickpeas
1 onion, diced
¼ teaspoon zathar
½ teaspoon cumin powder
¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon paprika powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder
3 tablespoons of raz el hanout
½ teaspoon of Harissa (If you use hot sausages like me, you don’t need this, just add some of the baking juices to the stew and you ll be fine!)
handful of raisins
handful of green olives
40 grams tomato puree
some chicken stock
Take a large cooking pot and add some olive oil. Put the pot on the fire and let it heat.
Now add the coriander seeds and the onion.
Let the onion fry until it turns golden brown.
Then add the sweet potato, the carrots and the red pepper. Let it simmer for a while.
Then add the tomato puree.
Now add the chicken stock. Poor in the stock until all the vegetables are under water. Be careful, don’t use to much stock, cause you don’t want to end up with soup. It is better to add a little less stock, you can always add more later!
Now add the remaining spices and stir well. Put a lit on the vegetables and let it boil for about 15 minutes.
Now add the courgette and the chickpeas let again simmer for 10 minutes.
Just before serving add the raisins and the olives. Let them heat for a couple of minutes and serve the vegetables with some couscous and hot sausages.
Tip for making the actually couscous: use some vegetable stock instead of plain water for the couscous. It will give you some extra flavour!