Couscous Tfaya with Chicken and Majhoul Dates

Total Time:
1 hr 50 min
25 min
15 min
1 hr 10 min

4 servings

  • 1 1/2 pounds coucous (durum wheat recommended)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted, plus 4 tablespoons
  • Olive oil
  • 2 small Cornish hens or 4 medium quails, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large red onion, julienned, plus 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 stems parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 generous pinch saffron
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Ras el Hanout (a mixture of 37 aromatic spices) or, a pinch clove and a pinch nutmeg
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans, pre-cooked or soaked overnight
  • 1 cup seedless raisins
  • 20 majhoul dates or 1 pound biskra or deglat-nour dates
  • 1/2 cup roasted, skinless almonds
  • Note: A couscoussier or a pot and fine-meshed strainer and a thick heavy pot are recommended for cooking Moroccan food
  • Pour the couscous in a large bowl, add salt, to taste, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1 cup lukewarm water, 4 tablespoons of the melted butter. Mix and let rest for 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed.

  • Preheat a thick pot. Add olive oil and heat. Add Cornish hen or quail and brown for a few minutes. Add the chopped and julienned onion, parsley, remaining butter, spices, salt, and 2 cups water. Cook for 15 minutes.

  • Add honey, garbanzo beans, raisins, and simmer for another 15 minutes. Add water as needed. Add the dates. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the dates are hot.

  • Separate the couscous grains by rubbing both hands together. Make sure there are no lumps. Fill the bottom of the couscoussiere (or pot) with 1 1/2 gallons water. Bring to a boil. Put the couscoussiere (or fine-meshed sieve) on top. When the vapor comes up, pour the couscous in the top (sieve), and let it steam for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender and spongy.

  • On a large platter, spread a 1-inch thick layer of couscous. Add some pieces of Cornish hen or quail around the middle. Then pour over the surface onions, raisins, and garbanzo beans.

  • Garnish with dates, the roasted almonds, and the rest of the sauce. Serve hot.

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