Bastilla and couscous are the most popular foods in Morocco, France, and northern Africa. The Bastilla is a prestigious dish and is often served during a wedding ceremony or a special family event; while couscous is the most popular in Morocco and probably 90% of families eat this dish every Friday. Here we give an overview of two special Bastilla and couscous dishes, based on seafood and seven vegetables, respectively.
Couscous of meat with seven vegetables
Morocco will mesmerize you with its countless multicultural traditions that stand out in a striking way in its cuisine and its dishes. For this reason, if you request a couscous recipe in Morocco, you will receive many. Sweet and juicy meat couscous with seven vegetables garnished with a caramelized onion and a raisin garnish, Tfaya is still the famous staple dish, and it takes a long time to be cooked.
Cooking couscous requires a couscoussier (pot). Inside this latter, we brown meat or chicken with olive oil, chopped onion, and tomato. In parallel, we add spices such as salt; ground black pepper; ground ginger; turmeric; and pinch saffron over medium heat. Stir the ingredients until your sauce begins to form. Then add the chickpeas which are soaked in water overnight with a bunch of cilantro and parsley and 1.5 liters of water. To cook well, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for one hour.
Moroccans used to steam couscous to get the right texture. Before the first steaming of couscous oil on top, distribute this oil by wrapping the couscous in “Gasaa”, a Moroccan container made of clay, put the couscous in a steam basket, place the basket on the couscoussier and cook at steam for 25 minutes. When steam appears on the couscous, put the couscous back in your “Gasaa”, add salt and a cup of water to the couscous, mix and roll it up, make sure not to compress it, and transfer it back to steam for another 25 minutes. At this time, place the peeled carrots, peeled turnips, and cabbage in the broth.
The last step is to unmold the couscous with steam into “Gasaa”. For that purpose, use water, smen, and butter. Mix and rub the grains with your hands to make sure there are no lumps. Before placing the couscous on the steamer basket, add the pumpkin, zucchini, and two peppers.
The couscous is served in Gasaa by placing hot couscous in it and garnishing it with meat and vegetables and pouring a few cups of broth over the couscous to moisten it. As for the Tfaya, it is optional, chopped two large onions, and place them in a deep pan with salt, butter, and olive oil. Once the onions have become soft and translucent, add two cups of vegetable and meat broth, raisins, cinnamon, a pinch of saffron, and honey, and simmer over low heat until liquids reduce. This Tfaya can be used as a garnish for couscous.
Because Morocco borders the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, many Moroccan dishes include seafood and fish; The seafood Bastilla is one of them. The latter is served at Moroccan weddings and special events because this plate itself is a celebration of flavors and textures: sweet on the inside, crisp on the outside, hot, sour, and tangy.
Seafood Bastilla is a Moroccan seafood pie that contains calamari; white fish, and shrimp; Chinese vermicelli wrapped in “Warka” dough sheets; filo pastry; and garnished with shrimp. Boil the squid, white fish, and shrimp in water with salt for a few minutes. However, we start with the squid because it takes a long time to cook. After that, the fish should be removed from the water and placed in a clean place. In the same water, boil the Chinese vermicelli for five minutes. Mix the ingredients with black pepper, chili, saffron, paprika, garlic, cumin, olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and chopped cilantro and parsley.
Heat a large pan with medium heat melt two tablespoons of butter, and add the mixture of ingredients. In order to have good fish cooking, stir several times until the fish is soft. Brush each sheet of dough with melted butter mixed with ground black pepper. Place the dough sheets around the baking dish and two sheets in the center; brush the edges with egg yolk. Put the trim back in the center and make sure to enclose the trim. Pour melted butter over the pie and bake it until it becomes crisp and golden.