Hi this is Alia Nd welcome back to cooking with Alia to show you the mix of the flavors of Morocco! Today, we're kicking off the Couscous series! Couscous is a stable ingredient in the Moroccan cuisine In this series, we're going to learn how to make the traditional way using the couscous pot but also the express way First, let's start with the traditional way We're going to make the most famous dish in Morocco Couscous with seven vegetables and we eat this dish every Friday. Let's start! Step 1: Prep Vegetables Peel the carrots. Trim both ends. Cut in half, and slice each half lengthwise. Cut along the edges of the carrot core and remove it. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into quarters Peel the turnip and cut into quarters Trim both ends of the zucchini. Cut it in half then slice each half lengthwise. Cut the cabbage into quarters. Trim the hard end and remove outer leaves. Remove the pumpkin seeds and cut into chunks. I am using a Kabocha today! And here are our 7 veggies: Carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips, zucchinis, cabbage, pumpkin, and chili pepper. You can also use fresh fava beans or potatoes! Use the veggie combo of your choice! Step 2: Prepare Meat Slice the tomato in half and grate using the large holes of the grater. Discard the tomato skin. Peel and chop the onion. So we will need: beef, chopped onion, grated tomato, fresh parsley and cilantro, and dried chickpeas soaked in water overnight. For the spices we have: saffron, ground ginger, turmeric, pepper, and salt. And of course, olive oil! In the bottom of the couscous pot, combine the meat, olive oil saffron, turmeric, ground ginger, pepper, and salt. Add the chopped onion, and mix. Brown the meat for a few minutes, then add the grated tomato and the fresh herbs Cover the meat with water. Drain the chickpeas and add them to the rest of the ingredients. Cover the pot and let the meat cook for around 20 minutes and start preparing your couscous. Step 3: Prepare Couscous Place the couscous in a large plate, I am using the Moroccan traditional couscous plate called Gasaa. Add some cold water, and work the couscous… lift the grains, rub them, give them some love and make sure they are all coated with water. place the couscous top over a plate, to minimize kitchen mess and transfer the couscous in the couscous top. Don’t worry, the moist couscous grains wont fall through the holes… I promise. Step 4: Steam Couscous – Round 1 After cooking the meat for 20 minutes, place the couscous top over the couscous bottom. Seal both pots with a cheesecloth or foil, this way we don’t lose any steam. After 5 minutes of so, you will notice steam rising from the couscous. Now start your timer, and let the couscous steam for 15 minutes. Time’s up! Empty the couscous in the large plate, and gently break the couscous grains with a fork. We dont want any lumps. Add vegetable oil, and continue fluffing the couscous. Add a large pinch of salt. Mix. Now add a little bit of water, and continue fluffing, until each couscous grain is plump and happy. Let the couscous rest while you start cooking the veggies! Step 5: Cook Root Vegetables We will first cook the root vegetables: carrots, sweet potatoes, and turnip. These require more cooking time. Place them with the meat and add boiling water to cover it all. Don’t fill up the entire pot with water or the broth will touch the couscous and ruin it. Step 6: Steam Couscous – Round 2 Transfer the couscous in the couscous top and place it back over the meat. Seal both pots. After 5 minutes of so, you will notice steam rising from the couscous. Now start your timer again, and let the couscous steam for 15 minutes. Time’s up! Empty the couscous in the large plate and you guessed it, fluffing time! Add a little bit of water and gently break all the lumps with a fork Or your hands if you can stand the heat! Let the couscous rest for 5 minutes while you are cooking the other vegetables. Step 7: Cook the Other Vegetables First let’s check on the root vegetables. My carrots still need a bit more cooking time… but the turnips are ready! It’s time to remove them from the pot and place them in a plate. We don’t want mushy veggies, we want them to be whole and proud! The sweet potatoes are also ready… time to join the turnips in the plate. Let’s add the other vegetables: zucchini, pumpkin, and cabbage. These veggies cook faster. Step 8: Steam Couscous – Round 3 Transfer the couscous in the couscous top and place it back over the meat. Seal both pots. After 5 minutes of so, you will notice steam rising from the couscous. start your timer again, and let the couscous steam for 15 minutes or until done. If you taste the couscous grains, you will actually know when they are ready… they just feel cooked. Once done. Empty the couscous in the large plate, and fluff again but this time just with butter (or Moroccan Smen)! Look at these little grains of happiness… they smell like home. Step 9: Check Meat & Vegetables Who is ready and who did not! Time of truth! Zucchinis are ready… out of the pot. Carrots are ready… out of the pot. Pumpkin is ready… out of the pot! The cabbage wants to join them as well and of course, let’s not forget the chili pepper. Remove the herbs and discard. Check on the meat… mine still needs some cooking. It will have to stay in the pot longer. Taste your sauce and adjust the seasoning: salt and pepper until it’s perfect! In my case, I will close the pot and let the meat cook a bit more. Check this out… now, the meat is soft and ready! Time for all the veggies to come back to the pot. We want them to be hot and ready for serving! Step 10: Plate Couscous First place the couscous grains in a dome shape. Use a bowl to make a crater in the center. Pour some of the broth over the couscous grains. Not too much, we don’t want a pool of sauce. Place the meat in the center. Arrange the veggies around and on top of the couscous. Don’t forget the chickpeas and the chili pepper for a spicy finale! In a separate bowl, pour the broth and serve on the side for people to add to their couscous individually. Check this out… 10 steps to get to the perfect couscous, and 1 spoon to get to heaven! This is soooooo gooood!!! Bon appetite!