Tsorta Tfaya With Couscous

By Kayb
January 5, 2010

Author Notes: I can never make a recipe the same way twice; it always requires tinkering. Tinkering with an old favorite, tfaya, yielded this toothsome and warming chickpea and tomato stew over couscous that's fragrant with ras el hanout. I can eat it and almost believe I'm in North Africa, where surely it is not as miserably cold as it is here south of the Mason Dixon line tonight.Kayb

Serves: 3 to 4


For the tfaya

  • 2 small onions
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced dried dates or figs, or raisins
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon harissa
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, cooked and drained, or 1 can, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatos

For the couscous

  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1/2 teaspoon ras el hanout
In This Recipe


  1. Cut onions in half vertically, slice thinly, and saute in butter and olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven until soft. Add all the spices, the honey and the water, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer until the onion is well caramelized. Taste and adjust spices as needed.
  2. When onion is golden brown, add chickpeas and tomatos. Simmer, covered, while making the couscous.
  3. Bring stock to a boil in a small saucepan. Add couscous, ras el hanout, stir, and remove from heat. Cover and let steam for five minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  4. To serve, put a serving of couscous in a wide bowl, shaping so it's higher at the edges. Put tfaya in the center. Garnish, if desired with slices or wedges of a boiled egg.

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