The Couscous Tradition Of Morocco

couscous

Couscous or more affectionately known as seksu or sikuk, is the national dish of Morocco. The origins of the dish’s name is still a mystery, but many attribute it to the hissing sound as its steam moves through the holes of the couscoussière (steamer).  While in most Moroccan families this rolled semolina cereal is prepared and eaten on Fridays, a few incorporate couscous into their diet at least a few times a week. Although some debate exists, couscous is a food whose origins are best linked with the Berbers from North Africa. As the Berbers were poor agrarian people living in the mountains, it became a staple food for them due to easy access to wheat in Morocco. At one point in time, was also the national dish for southern Spain; however, when the Arabs were expelled it became illegal to eat couscous by the decree of the inquisition. Only in recent years has couscous made an appearance in western cultures. Unfortunately, many pre-packaged instant varieties of couscous circulate in western stores. As a result, many people have the false idea that couscous shouldn’t take much longer than spaghetti to prepare. While it is possible to achieve a good couscous if handled properly, an authentic couscous can take up to five hours to cook. Couscous is also a celebratory dish eaten at weddings, funerals, or the end of festivals or holidays like the 27th of September, a date important in Ramadan . 

couscous meal

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2 Comments

Filed under Holidays and Religion, Morocco Travel, Recipes

2 responses to “The Couscous Tradition Of Morocco

  1. Thanks for the background on couscous. This dish has recently become one of my favorites to eat and prepare, but I never knew its origin. I must admit the pictures are making me hungry! 🙂

  2. Rick

    Tried it… for something so good, it’s really easy to prepare quickly.

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