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caramelized onion and raisin couscous

caramelized onion and raisin couscous

Moroccan couscous with caramelized onions and raisin

explore the exquisite flavors of Moroccan cuisine. a timeless and irresistible dish called Couscous Tfaya. with its aromatic blend of spices, tender couscous, and caramelized onion and raisin, Couscous Tfaya is a true celebration of flavors. delve into the rich history, ingredients, preparation method, and the sheer delight of savoring this traditional Moroccan delicacy.

Couscous Tfaya holds a significant place in Moroccan culture and is deeply rooted in the country's culinary heritage. the dish showcases the fusion of Berber, Arab, and Mediterranean influences, creating a unique flavor profile that captivates the senses. Over time, it evolved and incorporated various ingredients, ultimately giving rise to the tantalizing Couscous Tfaya we know today.


  • 2 pounds of onions, finely minced
  • 1 cup of raisins, soak it in water for 30 minutes
  •  2 tablespoons of butter
  •  2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of orange blossom water
  •  1/4 cup of water


  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  •  ¼ teaspoon of black pepper
  •  1 teaspoon of ginger powder
  •  1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  •  ½ tablespoon of ground cinnamon


  • 1  hen (1.5 pounds)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  •  fresh cilantro and parsley a small bouquet.
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil


  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  •  1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  •  1 teaspoon of ginger powder
  •  1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  •  a large pinch of saffron
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of water
  •  1 cup of dried chickpeas soaked in water overnight or 1 can of chickpeas


  • 500 grams of couscous
  •  2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  •  2 cups of water


Making the Tfaya:

  1. To begin, let's prepare the Tfaya, which consists of caramelized onions that require some cooking time.
  2. soaking the raisins in hot water and set them aside for later use.
  3. Finely mince the 2 pounds of onions. To prevent watery eyes while chopping onions, soak them in a bowl of water before chopping.
  4. Place the onion slices directly into a cooking pot. 
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of butter
  6.  1 teaspoon of salt
  7.  1 teaspoon of ginger powder
  8.  1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  9.  ¼ teaspoon of black pepper
  10. and ½ tablespoon of ground cinnamon.
  11. Pour ¼ cup of water and mix all the ingredients. Cover the pot and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  12. Once the onions have cooked for 30 minutes, add the drained raisins, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of orange blossom water.
  13. Mix well, partially cover the pot, and continue cooking the onions over medium-low heat for approximately 25 minutes until they are completely caramelized. Stir occasionally.
  14. The onions and raisins will turn a rich brown color and become coated in a thick syrup. save them for serving with the couscous!

Preparing the Couscous :

For this step, we'll cook the meat and vegetables separately from the couscous.

  1.  In the bottom part of a couscous pot, place the chicken, weighing around 1.5 pounds.
  2.  Over the chicken drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil,  1 finely chopped onion, add the bouquet of fresh parsley and cilantro, a cinnamon stick, and the spices below 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, 1 teaspoon of ginger powder, 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder, and a large pinch of saffron.
  3.  If using dried chickpeas, add them at this point. If using canned chickpeas, save them for later.
  4.  Mix all the ingredients together, then sear the Cornish hen over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Now, Place 500 grams of couscous in a large bowl.
  6. Add vegetable oil to the couscous, and salt then mix well using your hands.
  7. Pour 1 cup of water and continue mixing until the couscous absorbs the water.
  8.  Allow the couscous to rest for a few minutes, then transfer it to the upper section of the couscous pot.
  9. Check on the chicken, ensuring there is enough water, and turn it to ensure even cooking. If you added 1 cup of water initially, you should be fine.
  10. Place the upper section of the couscous pot on top of the bottom part. Cover with a lid and cook the meat and couscous on medium heat until steam begins to rise from the couscous, approximately 15 minutes.
  11. transfer the couscous to a large bowl after removing it from the pot. add water about 1/2 cup, mix well, and let the couscous sit for about 5 minutes.
  12.  Meanwhile, check the Cornish hen and flip it to the other side. water in the pot must be enough. If you previously added 1 cup of water, it should be sufficient.
  13.  Return the couscous to the top section of the pot, cover it, and continue steaming until steam reappears for about 10 minutes. This is the second round of steaming.
  14. Transfer the steamed couscous to a bowl and taste it. if it's not fully cooked, add ¼ cup of water and continue steaming.
  15.  add 1 teaspoon of clarified butter or ghee and fluff the couscous with your fingers or a fork.  you can use regular butter if smen is not available.
  16. in case using canned chickpeas, add them to the sauce and let them cook for 5 minutes.

Serving :

  •  to present the mouthwatering Moroccan couscous! place the couscous grains in a serving dish, and position the chicken in the center.
  • Pour a modest amount of sauce and chickpeas over the couscous. Save the remaining sauce in a separate dish, allowing individuals to add it to their plates according to their taste.
  •  *Garnish the dish with the Tfaya caramelized onions and raisins, and decorate with boiled eggs and almonds. you can use toasted almonds for a healthier option, or traditionally fry them in oil.
  • Safeguard your creation while carrying it from the kitchen to the dining room, as your family and friends will be eager to savor it before it even reaches the table!
  • Enjoy your meal, or as they say in Morocco, "Bonne app├ętit!"

The dish offers a beautiful balance of sweet and savory, with the caramelized onions lending a subtle sweetness that perfectly complements the fragrant spices. Each mouthful of tender couscous is a delight, while the plump raisins add bursts of sweetness. For an added touch of elegance, garnish the dish with fried almonds, which provide a delightful crunch and enhance the overall visual appeal.

Couscous Tfaya is traditionally served as a main course during festive occasions or family gatherings. It is a dish that brings people together, igniting conversations and creating lasting memories.


In conclusion, Couscous Tfaya is an extraordinary Moroccan dish that deserves a place on your culinary repertoire. Its rich history, tantalizing flavors, and delightful textures make it a standout among Moroccan cuisine. By following our detailed recipe, you can recreate this culinary masterpiece in the comfort of your own kitchen. Immerse yourself in the world of Moroccan gastronomy and let the magic of Couscous Tfaya transport you to the vibrant streets of Marrakech. Embark on this culinary adventure and experience the wonders of Moroccan cuisine today!

It showcases the interconnectedness of the caramelized onions, spices, raisins, cooked couscous, and the garnish of fried almonds, all of which contribute to the overall taste and appeal of the dish.