Moroccan couscous: the colours

Today’s project is all about colour. As I was deciding what to shoot this week, I thought let’s aim for a whirlwind of colour. And my beloved Moroccan couscous popped into my mind. I love preparing it because you can add all kinds of ingredients and so it is different every time. I’ll clue you in regarding the stuff I put in today’s dish AS WELL AS the stuff I had lined up or thought about but didn’t end up using.

Here’s the starting position (excl. the zucchini, obviously).


And so the cutting begins.


FYI, another onion-cutting trick – peal the onion by first removing everything apart from the base, remove that at the very end just before starting to cut – for some reason it is the removal of the base that unleashes the tear blasts. No idea why but it works. (Don’t forget to fill up your mouth with water during the cutting itself.)

On to more pleasant vegetables.


And then some grating. Carrots are not a mandatory ingredient for the couscous. I saw a recipe for a couscous salad and the lady used carrots. I decided to use them as garnish when serving (to myself) – I couldn’t pass on this spectacular colour.


And that’s that for the cutting.


In the distance – chopped parsley and two garlic cloves. I love garlic but parsley and I have a difficult dynamic. I normally never buy it as I don’t like it raw. But when cooked, it adds a million flavours to any dish (fast forward to the final product: it was a good decision to get along with parsley today!).

And here’s a completely useless but pretty picture of the leftovers.


Now it is finally time for the couscous. The lady preparing the couscous salad I mentioned above advised preparing couscous with the raisins already in it – what a brilliant idea. So I call in my old friend the broth (but this time I use vegetable) and dissolve it in 500ml of water in order to pour it over 250gr of couscous. And raisins.


Put a lid over it, and for about 5-10min let it do the magic . Couscous is pretty independent that way.

Back to the vegetables that are a lot less independent. Olive oil in the (brand new, “AH pannenzegels” Villeroy & Boch, yay) pan, and in goes the onion.


Some red ground pepper for flavour before anything else is added (tried, tested, passed down the generations, always-a-good-idea, thanks Mom). Add the rest of the vegetables all at once and then the colour explosion intertwines with a mouth-watering odour. Yum, says my nose.


I added salt, pepper, cumin and a bit of water, put the lid on and let it steam. In the meantime, check with the couscous, it should be ready, use a fork to separate the grains and, my ultimate favourite part, add a slice of butter in there, stir until it melts completely and put the lid back on. Please. Don’t forget the butter. It makes or breaks the couscous, all other ingredients come second.

Once the vegetable mix is cooked (soft but not sluggish), take it off the stove and serve with the couscous to eat. Immediately. For me it took a while as I wanted to show a representative view of the end result. It seems I am only able to cook (and not eat) for that long (I think it took about 2h for me) if I have the camera to distract me from my stomach yelling at me, eat, now. I’m pretty sure it will take you no more than 45min altogether.


And there’s the colourful whirlwind I was aiming for. You can also add sun-dried tomatoes, chickpeas, mushrooms, aubergine, lemon juice, etc. etc. etc. (be bold, aim for colour!).

And yes, I did eat in the end, and it was absolutely delicious!


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