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Feb 9, 2002 12:08 PM

cook something special tonight

  • p

I prepared this seafood bisteeya last night and it was such a hit!

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  1. I'm serving a Moroccan dinner tonight for 12. Here's the menu:

    Oasis Olives
    Mouhamara ( Red Pepper,Pomegranate and Walnut Dip)
    Spiced Moroccan Shrimp

    Djej Matisha Mesla ( Chicken Cooked in Sweet Tomato
    Seffa ( Sweet Cinnamon Couscous with Dried Fruit)
    Moroccan-Spiced Roasted Vegetables
    Flatbread with Amalou (Sweet Nut Spread)

    Date-Spice Cake with Figs in Port Syrup and Vanilla Ice Cream
    Moroccan Coffee

    Two worries: I hope the tomato jam doesn't scorch (it has to cook over high heat for an hour!) And I hope I have my proportions right on the couscous: 1 cup couscous to 2 cups broth or water.
    It's 2pm and my prep work is done. I kick into high gear at 5:30. If anyone has any last-minute advice on any of the above, go for it!

    7 Replies
    1. re: scott
      Caitlin McGrath

      Scott, your menu sounds fabulous! I hope you'll post back and say how verything turned out. I'd advise using only 3/4 cup water for each 1 cup couscous. Two-to-one can be too much sometimes, and it's a situation where, if the couscous is not soft enough, you can add a few more tbsp. hot water, but you're stuck with wet couscous if you start with too much and it's not all absorbed. Actually, I'd use chicken stock instead of water if you have it on hand (assuming you don't need it to be vegetarian). Good luck!

      1. re: scott

        Wonderful menu....can you share your recipe source?? Especially for the Red pepper walnut dip

        1. re: Ciaolette

          Gladly! Log on to's a noted expert on things Moroccan and Mediterranean.

          1. re: Ciaolette

            There is also a wonderful recipe for muhamarra (red pepper walnut paste) in "Classical Turkish Cooking" by Ayla Algar.

            I will send it to you if you want, but won't post because of copyright.

          2. re: scott

            just to confuse things a little more, 1.5/1 ratio water to cous-cous always works for me.

            1. re: jake pine

              Just wanted to say that my Moroccan dinner turned out terrifically well and seemed to be a big hit with all. Any concerns I may have had vanished once the cooking was underway, everything proceeding a-pace, tomato jam included (it never came anywhere near scorching--I also stirred my arm off!!).Jake Pine, your recommended proportions produced a perfect couscous, thank you so much! Since no tagine was available to me, I layered the chicken over the couscous on a large turkey platter and poured the tomato jam, topped off with sesame seeds, over all. It made for a striking visual presentation and garnered a round of applause when I brought it from the kitchen!!
              Ciaolette, in addition to the Dip recipe which can be found at Paula Wolfert's site, my other sources were as follows:
              Oasis Olives (Great Good Food)
              Spiced Moroccan Shimp (Bon Appetit/December 1999---also available on
              Chicken Cooked with Sweet Tomato Jam (Couscous Paula Wolfert---Regrettably,I don't remember the rest of the title (I had xeroxed the recipe from a library book and no title is listed on the copy) but, once again, it's listed at Ms. Wolfert's site. However the recipe itself is NOT on the site).
              Seffa (found this through a Google search at, I used regular as opposed to instant couscous and cut back just a bit on the recommended orange-blossom water amount with wonderful results--see above and Jake Pine's post
              ) Moroccan-Spiced Roasted Vegeables (Gourmet Magazine---either the January or February issue of 2000---my recipe copy is torn off at the name of the month!!--you may also try searching at Epicurious)
              Amalou (Food and Wine/May 2001)
              Date-Spice Cake with Figs in Port Syrup (Bon Appetit/September 2001)

              This was my first foray into this type of exotic, ethnic cuisine and I will ABSOLUTELY continue to explore other recipes and flavors. I'm already looking forward to making my first bisteeya!

              1. re: scott
                Caitlin McGrath

                Congratulations! Glad your ambitious meal came off so well. BTW, I'm glad you ignored my couscous post, because I *meant* to say the same thing as Jake--1.5 water to 1 couscous!