Moroccan Flavours – Bidawi Couscous & Seven Vegetables

Typically served on a large platter as a mound of semolina with the meat and vegetables placed with their broth into the central crater, this delightful dish provides a scrumptious taste of Morocco. Traditionally accompanied by bowls of the remaining broth, small dishes of harissa and varying other condiments, it is eaten by forming balls of the food in the hand.


To prepare six servings of this delicious meal you will need:

  • 1.5 kg of fairly fatty mutton (saddle or shoulder) or veal (shank, shoulder or neck )
  • 800 g of cabbage
  • 1 piece of stale bread
  • 15 ml of lemon juice
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 kg of onions
  • 250 g of chickpeas (soaked overnight)
  • 150 g of butter
  • 2 ml of saffron
  • 6 litres of water
  • 1 kg of semolina
  • 250 g of peeled and seeded tomatoes
  • 250 g of small turnips (peeled)
  • 500 g of peeled carrots, cut into sticks
  • 3 cilantro sprigs
  • 2 hot peppers
  • 500 g of pumpkin
  • 250 g of sweet potatoes
  • 100 g of olives


While the preparation of Bidawi Couscous & Seven Vegetables does require a little patience, it is comparatively easy to make, requiring around 30 minutes to prepare and roughly an hour to cook. Here’s how to make this tasty dish:

  • Cut the meat into equal pieces (say 10) then wash and drain them carefully
  • Remove the cabbage’s stem and core; blanch the cabbage with the stale bread and the lemon juice in boiling water for about 5 minutes
  • Place the meat pieces, blanched cabbage, two onions (stuck with cloves, two each), the chick peas, water, saffron, salt and pepper into the bottom section of the couscous maker (steamer) and place it over a high heat
  • Add the couscous (semolina) to the upper section and place this over the already simmering lower pot (steam should only escape from the top – if escaping elsewhere, seal the upper and lower parts together with the help of a strip of cloth that has been coated with a light flour and water paste. Once steam starts coming out, allow to cook for 30 minutes
  • Remove couscous and place into a large deep dish
  • Separate couscous grains by crushing them with a spoon or rubbing them between the palms of your hands
  • Moisten the couscous with 2 to 3 ladles of lightly salted cold water; separate grains again and allow to rest for 15 minutes
  • Add remaining sliced onions, turnips, tomatoes, carrots, chilies and cilantro to the broth.
  • Cook the sweet potatoes and mash while adding a little of the broth from the pot
  • Return the broth to boil and repeat the previously described procedure for the couscous, this time using olive oil instead of water
  • Return the couscous to the top section of the steamer and some 5 minutes after steam begins to escape, separate the grains once again – this time with butter

Check that the meat and vegetables are done; adjust the seasoning and serve as described above. Bon Appétit!

If you would really like to experience a true taste of Moroccan cuisine we suggest a visit to our restaurant at Les Borjs de la Kasbah where all the classic dishes are expertly prepared. Or, you might care to try one of our popular Moroccan cookery courses, click the link to find out more.

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