Monday, November 16, 2009

Making Couscous - Photo essay

Recently two of The View from Fez team took part in a traditional couscous preparation course. Australia's legendary young chef, Katerina Annels, has kindly done a review for us. Suzanna Clarke took the photographs. Here is Katerina's report...

Mmmm, couscous, one of those lovely intangible things. When I am told that we are going to a traditional couscous class I am delighted. But when can I use this skill? I imagine a process like making fresh pasta, hours spent over the dough. Undoubtedly worth the effort, but a somewhat daunting experience for a newcomer.

We wind our way to café clock. spiral past the kitchens, dining rooms and up on to the terrace, with views across the Medina and I am told, the best camel burger in Fez.

In the corner of the terrace is a collection of expats and tourists gathered around a huge pot full of chicken cabbage and spices and emitting the most delightful smells. Amongst this group is Cynthia Berning, a young peace corps volunteer 1 year into her 2 year Morocco contract, and Atika Diouri, President of ENNAHDA (a women’s association, for cultural development, producing traditionally rolled couscous) our teachers. You will find links to Cynthia and the association at the end of this story.

We start with a coarse wheat flour, wholegrain is the best (it creates a wonderful nutty flavour to the couscous) placed in a large, flat, glazed ceramic tray. A light sprinkle of water (too much will make the couscous into a dough), and perhaps a pinch of salt. Using the flats of the hands we rub the water into the couscous, those with more practice creating beautiful spiral patterns, as the flour turns to crumbs.

Once the crumbs are formed the couscous is pasted through a course sieve, a little more flour (finer this time) is added to the crumbs too large to fit through the sieve, and remixed until they to pass through.

See the rest of the photo essay here: Traditional Couscous

We suggest you also take a look at the Couscous Chronicles. Information on the women's association can be found here.

See all The View from Fez Moroccan recipes here: Moroccan Recipes

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