Tsorta Tfaya With Couscous

By Kayb
January 5, 2010

Test Kitchen-Approved

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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Reviews (5) Questions (1)

5 Reviews

Trena H. May 7, 2016
Wow! This is delicious! Thank you for sharing.
Scribbles November 1, 2011
I made this for dinner last night and it was delicious. Easy dish with nice warmth.
Author Comment
Kayb October 16, 2011
Fran, ras el hanout is a spice blend common in a lot of North African cuisine; lots of peppers, some cinnamon, and I'm honestly not sure what all else is in it. You can get it at most places with a really good spice selection, or order it. I get mine from a gourmet shop locally. If I were going to try to approximate it, I'd probably blend some of any powdered chiles I had, some cardamon, some cinnamon, and maybe some coriander.
Fran M. October 16, 2011
I feel so stupid asking these kind of questions but what is ras el hanout?
VivianY March 9, 2010
I made this last night and it turned out fantastic!<br />The tomatoes kind of overshadowed the sweetness, so we just added a bit more honey and spices after it had simmered down. We also added a lot more figs/dates/raisins. Really easy to make as well.