National Dish of Algeria – Saffron and Raisin Couscous
|couscous||1 ½ cups|
|of fresh mint leaves||2 ¼ tbsp.|
|of extra virgin olive oil||¾ tsp.|
|of water||1 ½ cups|
|A dash of salt|
|A dash of saffron powder or a few saffron threads|
Couscous originated in Northern Africa and is considered to be the national dish of Algeria. These tiny balls of semolina are cooked in a variety of traditional ways as it is a staple food in this country. One couscous dish which is widely popular in Algeria is couscous with saffron, raisins, and fresh mint.
Directions for Preparing Couscous
- Pour 1 ½ cups of water into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Add a dash of saffron powder or a few threads of saffron to the water and turn off the heat.
- Place a lid over the saucepan and let the saffron-infused hot water stand for about thirty minutes. The water will turn yellow.
- Turn the heat back on under the saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Add 1 ½ cups of couscous, olive oil, salt, and the desired amount of raisins. Stir the mixture, and turn off the heat.
- Replace the lid over the saucepan and let the mixture stand for another thirty minutes.
- Use a fork to separate the grains as some may stick to each other in small clumps. This is called ‘fluffing’ and will help the mixture to attain a very light consistency.
- Taste the couscous and add more seasonings if desired.
- Sprinkle the finely chopped mint leaves into the couscous and stir well.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. Prepared in this way it can be eaten with roasted vegetables,
Mediterranean meats, or yogurt. It can also be served with bread and roasted fish.