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Couscous m’Hassel (Sweet Chicken Couscous)

(recipe, Fiona Dunlop)


This very ancient Fassi recipe never dies and is just as good with lamb. The sweet onion and raisins blend well and are offset by the golden steaming couscous.


  1. Vegetable oil for frying
  2. 2 lb. plus 4 ounces onions, peeled and sliced
  3. 3 tsp. crushed saffron
  4. 2 tsp. ground ginger
  5. 3 tsp. ground black pepper
  6. 1 lb. plus 2 ounces raisins
  7. 3 tsp. ground cinnamon
  8. 1 to 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  9. 3 lb. plus 5 ounces chicken pieces
  10. 1 lb. plus 10 ounces couscous
  11. 5½ oz. toasted almonds, for garnish


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry the onion with 1 teaspoon each of the spices (except for the cinnamon) over low heat until the onion is soft. Add the raisins, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and the sugar. Cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
  2. Sprinkle the chicken with the remaining spices (saffron, ginger, black pepper, and cinnamon) and cook in a steamer, covered, for about 1 hour, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  3. Cook the couscous according to package directions.
  4. Arrange the chicken pieces over the top of the cooked couscous, pour over the onion-and-raisin mixture, then garnish with a sprinkling of toasted almonds before serving.