© Louisa Aarrass

By Aicha Annamer, High Atlas, Morocco.

Learn more about couscous and couscous producer Aîcha

Barley Flour Couscous with Eggs – Toumiyte N’tasksoute

Couscous is an essential element of the Maghreb cultural identity. The couscous in this recipe from the High Atlas is made from barley, a staple crop of the region.

Prep: 40 minutes | Cook: 40 minutes | Serves: 4

  • Barley flour
  • 6 Eggs
  • 100 grams of butter
  • Oil for drizzling
  • Salt to taste

Making the couscous:

  1. Remove any hulls that may remain in the barley flour by sifting it through a sieve. The sifted flour should be a fine, uniform powder.
  2. Put the flour in a large, low tagine plate.
  3. Fill a cup with 150 ml of water.
  4. Add a little water to the flour stirring the mixture with your hand, pressing down and moving the palm in a circular motion. This creates the coucous grains. Tip: It’s better to have too little moisture than too much to avoid the mixture becoming a dough.
  5. Continue adding water and mixing until tiny grains form without clumping.
  6. Once the dish is filled with small grains, pass it through a sieve in order to separate out larger clumps.

Cooking the eggs and couscous:

  1. Place 6 unshelled eggs into a pot of boiling water. 
  2. Place the couscous in a steamer above the pot. Steam uncovered for about 10 minutes (while the eggs boil)
  3. After 10 minutes, return the couscous to a large dish. Toss the grains with 100ml of oil and a splash of water. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and fluff/stir the couscous with your hands.
  4. Place couscous back in the steamer for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Use some of the larger leftover couscous chunks that didn’t sieve to seal the gap between the steamer and pot (if needed).
  6. Place a fist sized piece of butter in the middle of a large serving dish.
  7. Take the couscous off the steamer and spread on top of the butter in the dish.
  8. Drain and shell the eggs, and once the couscous is evenly distributed in the dish, place the boiled eggs on top.
  9. Break up the eggs with your hands to incorporate them into the couscous, mixing the butter in as well at the same time.
  10. Gather with family and friends around this steaming masterpiece and eat with your hands.

See how Couscous is traditionally prepared

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