Moroccan Couscous Tfaya with Chickpeas and Cranberries
My festive take on Moroccan Classic Couscous Tfaya
I am enjoying a bowl of, my version of, delicious couscous tfaya while writing this post. I made couscous with spiced chickpeas, caramelized onions, and cranberries yesterday, this preparation is similar to a famous Moroccan couscous dish called "couscous tfaya".
One thing is certain even before I tell you what this dish is and how I made it - i.e. spices in couscous have married even better the next day and has made this side dish hearty, filling, warming, and scrumptious, even without any accompaniments. conclusion? THE FIRST hurrah of holiday dinners season! make-ahead, refrigerate and forget.
This is definitely a contender for holiday-style grand family meals (with an option to make-ahead). Sweetness of cranberries pairs very well with sweet caramelized onions, and spiced chickpeas. Lemony couscous here act as a great flavor balancing element with warmth and heat of cumin, coriander, and cayenne!
What is Couscous Tfaya?
Couscous Tfaya is one of classic Moroccan preparation where Tfaya refers to sweet caramelized onions and raisins. This recipe is traditionally cooked with a exotic warm spice blend called Ras El Hanout, though, I have used, cumin, coriander, and cayenne pepper only. Just so you know, the traditional spice blend also has cinnamon and nutmeg which I have not used in this recipe. Also, for my vegan/vegetarian take, I have used chickpeas to make vegetarian Couscous Tfaya, often it is prepared with lamb or chicken.
I have made many changes to Moroccan classic Couscous Tfaya to make it suitable for my need and taste. Like classic version has raisins where as I used cranberries to add some sweet and sour taste, some color, and festivity. for all these reasons, I won't call my preparation Couscous Tfaya, but an interpretation of classic version with my taste stamp :)
Serving Couscous Tfaya
No matter how prepared, spices, sweet elements, and earthy couscous really go great together.
First of all, let me tell you that my couscous tfaya recipe is VEGAN, no butter/dairy or meat products used. However, I enjoyed tfaya with glass of salted buttermilk to balance the warmth of spices. For keeping the vegan theme, consider serving a glass of orange/apple juice on the side. Or if you not so particular about going vegan, then yogurt or sour cream also make great spice-balancing and cooling sides options.
Couscous tfaya is best served warm or at room temperature. If serving next day, keep refrigerated, then bring to room temperature before serving.
Make it your own!
I will not force you to use home cooked chickpeas, but, I like chickpeas cooked little longer than the canned version for this recipe. It totally can be because I always boil fresh chickpeas at home (just my personal taste). You can try canned or both, and be a better judge of your taste/liking. As per me, if you using canned chickpeas, cook them a little more for softer texture before using in the recipe below. Also, you can replace chickpeas with cooked cannellini beans too!
Warm and comforting bowl of Couscous with spiced chickpeas, and caramelized onions, with some festive sweetness and color from cranberries. loving it!
From ChefDeHome Archives
Previous years, these day, I was cooking:
I hope you will enjoy cooking and eating my take on Couscous Tfaya.
Until next post...... have a great weekend and Happy Halloween once again!
Few hearty stews/curries to accompany Couscous Tfaya:
Moroccan Couscous Tfaya with Chickpeas and Cranberries
- 1/2 Cup Couscous (regular small granulated couscous)
- 1/2 Cup Vegetable Stock (or water seasoned with 1/4 teaspoon salt)
- Couscous tfaya
- 1 Cup Chickpeas (8 ounce can or home cooked chickpeas)
- 1/3 Cup Cranberries (dried cranberries or use golden/black raisins)
- 1 Red Onion (sliced into rings, about 1 cup when sliced)
- 1/2 Cup Cilantro (coriander leaves, fine chopped)
- 1 Lemon (juice and zest of 1 lemon, about 1.5 tbsp lemon juice)
- 1 Whole Dry Red Pepper (broken in half, optional)
- 1 tsp Cumin Powder
- 1 tsp Coriander Powder
- 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper (or less as per your liking for spicy food)
- 1 Garlic (1 clove, minced, about 1/2 teaspoon)
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- Salt and Black Pepper (as per taste)
1. To Cook Couscous : In a wide bowl, add couscous and boiling stock (or water if using). Mix well with spoon, in case of stock, taste stock for seasoning and adjust . if using water, add 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Cover with a lid and set aside for 5 minutes or until all water has been absorbed.2. After 5 minutes, check if couscous is done or add a little more boiling water and cover until done. If done, fluff with fork and set aside.
3. To make tfaya, heat olive in a deep heavy bottom skillet/pan. When oil is hot, add sliced onions and broken whole red pepper (if using), cook stirring once-in-a-while until onion are soft and started to caramelize (8-10 minutes). Remove whole red pepper after first 4 minutes. Additional Notes: I have only added pepper to add some flavor to oil. Make sure to remove red pepper and discard. Note: use whole red pepper only if you like some heat.4. At this stage add all spices (cumin, coriander, cayenne), minced garlic and saute stirring frequently for 1 minute. Now, add chickpeas.
5. Mix chickpeas with spices, add 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper. and saute for another 2 minutes.6. Add lemon zest and juice, stir combine. Remove from heat.
7. Mix in cooked couscous and cranberries. Use a slotted spoon or big fork to mix everything. Taste and adjust salt and black pepper.8. Before serving add chopped cilantro (coriander leaves). Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serve with glass of seasoned low-fat buttermilk or sour cream on the side. For vegan version, serve with glass of orange juice on the side.
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