Barley couscous Zakia
The most famous part of North African cuisine, used as the main ingredient in many dishes in much the same way as rice.
Couscous is often referred to as Moroccan, but it is equally used in Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. The term comes from the Berber language, there it is called seksou. It consists of small grains, the main ingredient of which is semolina.
Couscous should be steamed two or three times. When properly cooked the texture is light and fluffy. The traditional North African method is to use a steamer called couscoussiere. The base is a tall metal pot shaped rather like an oil har in which the meat and vegetables are cooked in a stew. On top of the base a steamer sits where the couscous is cooked, absorbing the flavours from the stew.
The couscous available to buy in the UK has been pre-steamed and dried, and only needs a little bioling water or stock to it to make it ready to eat.