The rich spices of Moroccan cuisine linger on the tongue long beyond the end of any visit. To recreate those flavors in one’s own kitchen can prove a daunting task; however, the country’s signature dish — couscous — has become a worldwide favorite, meaning a taste of your trip can be found in a variety of restaurants or as a viable option for the everyday grocery shopper.
In Morocco, it is likely ordered as traditional seksu or kesksu with a meat or vegetable stew spooned on top. In Sicily, it is typically served with seafood. The grain is popular throughout West Africa, Sahel, France, Spain, the Canary Islands, Portugal, Madeira, Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece, Malta, Cyprus, areas of the Middle East and India, leaving infinite possibilities for creative couscous.
The origins of couscous remain up for debate. Some historians believe the granules made of semolina wheat began in China, much like pasta. Others favor the belief its origins trace back to East Africa. The most heavily favored — and the most plausible — explanation points to North Africa. Cooking tools used in the preparation of couscous and dating back to the ninth century were unearthed in this area of the world. The dish was disseminated to the entire region in the 11th century before making its way to Andalusia and the Mediterranean.
The first written reference to couscous was found in the anonymous 13th-century Hispan-Muslim cookbook Kitāb al-ţabīkh fī al-Maghrib wa’l-Andalus. A Marrakesh recipe for alcuzcuz fitīyānī is described as “made for the young” and “known all over the world.” While today prepared with delicious, aromatic meats, fishes, vegetables and spices, its humble beginnings were as food for the hungry nomad; cooked with sour milk and melted butter, it was a hearty dish that left diners full.
By the 16th century, references to the food were found in French writing. Portuguese immigrants from Morocco brought the cuisine to South America, and today couscous enjoys international acclaim and renown.
Not in dispute is the process of making the North African staple food. Couscous, a pasta, is comprised of husked and crushed, but unground, semolina flour. The semolina flour comes from the hardest part of durum wheat; its small pellets resemble farina, polenta or grits. The semolina is sprinkled with water and rolled into tiny granules. The intense process includes sprinkling the granules with flour and running them through sieves until all the semolina has been formed into couscous.
To recreate the tastes of your visit to Morocco in your own kitchen, the packaged versions from the grocery stores won’t suffice. Authentic couscous should be prepared in a couscoussiére or a heat-proof colander inside a stockpot. Steam with water until liquid is absorbed; do not cover, as condensation will make the pasta mushy.
A meal is never as amazing as that first bite, but with the popularity of couscous worldwide, a taste of Morocco is never out of reach.
As the vaccine rolls out and travel begins to pick up, it’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Panama City with us.
Boca Raton Resort & Club recently announced a new partnership with Major Food Groups, creating one of the best culinary destinations in the United States. Major Food Groups is the company behind some of the hottest restaurants, including Carbone, The Grill and Parm. This partnership will launch multiple dining concepts as part of the resort's $150 million transformation.
The Franklin London Launches Afternoon Tea Inspired by Victoria & Albert Museum’s “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser”
The Franklin London – Starhotels Collezione, located in the heart of Knightsbridge, launched a new afternoon tea inspired by the “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser” exhibit at the nearby Victoria & Albert Museum. Diners booking the tea also have the option to book an offer including a pre-reserved ticket to the in-demand exhibition.
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
Pride Month is in full swing and to celebrate the community, make a colorful cocktail everyone will enjoy. These colorful ingredients will get the party started during Pride or any time of the year. Start this recipe the night before to create the rainbow ice cubes.
Hotel San Luis Obispo partners with Harmony Cellars for the SLO in Harmony offer. The offer includes 15 percent off a two-night stay Sunday–Thursday, a complimentary wine tasting for two at Harmony Cellars, club member discounts at the winery for the day and the opportunity to explore the town of Harmony, California, population of 18 and located 30 miles from San Luis Obispo. Book online.
The Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.
Enjoy additional perks at Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta, on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, with the Vitamin Sea, D & Me offer. Rates begin at $130 per night, including complimentary breakfast daily, a healthy starter at Arrecifes Restaurant, one poke bowl and one drink at El Palmar Restaurant. The use of one beachside pergola per stay is also included. The offer is valid on stays through Dec. 21, and use code S5706 to book.