The process of making couscous is a little long and requires some “Tender Loving Cooking”. Don’t be discouraged however, it is feasible with average cooking skills and it is very rewarding. Once you have tasted the steamed Moroccan couscous, you will never settle for instant couscous again. It is a real delicacy.
To steam couscous the Moroccan way, you must have a couscous pot. I am not aware of any way around that. To purchase a couscous pot, I suggest looking on amazon.com. Below is a link to to a couscous pot:
I also suggest purchasing a round terracotta tray – see picture above – from the hardware stores, such as Home Depot and Lowes. You will find it in the garden shop by the planting pots.
First, you need to wash your terracotta tray thoroughly with water and soap and rinse it well. Fill it with water and let it soak for a couple hours. Towel dry the tray and rub it with cooking oil before use.
Fill the bottom part of your couscous pot with 2 quarts of water and put it to boil on high heat.
Cut an aluminum sheet the length of the circumference of your couscous pot (bottom part), fold it into a 1 ½” strip, and carefully place it around the edges of the pot before it gets hot. This will seal the air exits and accelerate the steaming process of the couscous.
Place the couscous in the terracotta tray, drizzle the oil over it, according to the recipe ingredients, and move your hands in circular movements (see pictures) to rub the couscous grains gently against the base of the tray, and between your palms. This will help keep the grains from sticking to each other.
Drizzle with salted water, according to the recipe ingredients, and repeat the same hand movements, making sure that you use just enough pressure to disperse the grains.
Place the steaming tray (top part of your couscous pot) flat on your kitchen counter. Then, fill it with the couscous. Do not worry, although the couscous grains are small, they will not fall through the holes, they stick together.
Place the steaming tray filled with couscous over the boiling pot, adjusting the aluminum foil as necessary to make sure it seals the space between the tray and the pot as perfectly as possible.
After steaming for 40 minutes, turn the steaming tray upside down on the terracotta tray to pour the couscous. Drizzle generously with salted water, according to the recipe ingredients. The couscous must be very hot, use a fluffing fork to fluff the couscous. When it is cooked enough, use your hands in circular movements to separate the grains.Place the couscous in the steaming tray, and replace it on the boiling pot. Steam for another 40 minutes.
Repeat the previous step , making sure there is enough water in the boiling pot. Steam one more time for 40 minutes. This time spoon some couscous and taste it before you take the tray off. The grains must be soft enough to be showable but not mushy. If necessary, let it steam some more time.
Pour the couscous in the terracotta tray, add the Moroccan flavored aged butter, according to the recipe ingredients, and fluff with a fork. When it is cool enough, use your hands to separate the grains.
Place the couscous on the serving tray, forming a volcano shape with a hole in the center to place the meat and vegetables.