Traditionally Moroccans use watercress as a home remedy for cough or cold.
Fez – Moroccan cuisine varies depending on the region, with some regions using ingredients that are not readily available in other parts of the country. Today’s recipe is traditional in south-eastern Morocco and uses fresh watercress and couscous.
Ifnouzen is a warming dish that also serves as a perfect remedy for winter chills. Watercress, or alfalfa, blossoms from November to the end of March and lends its healthy properties and peppery taste to the traditional couscous dish.
Though some people believe that watercress is principally a food for animals and that farmers plant it for livestock, in Morocco it is used in many delicious dishes as well as home remedies for coughs and colds.
As the nights are getting cooler, it is the perfect time to make ifnouzen.
Before we start, make sure you have the ingredients to hand:
500 grams of couscous, medium caliber
1 kg of fresh watercress
500 grams of green onions
2 bell peppers
2 chili peppers (optional)
½ liters of olive oil
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of salted butter
Now we are ready to start cooking:
Wash the watercress and make sure it is completely dry before starting. You can leave it to dry overnight or simply pat it dry with some kitchen towel.
Using a sharp knife, roughly chop the watercress.
Now cut onions and peppers into small cubes, add them to the watercress and put aside for later.
Next, pour about 2 liters of water into a couscous pot and place it on the stove over a medium heat.
Spread out the couscous on large plate or Gasaa (Moroccan couscous plate).
Sprinkle the couscous with 1/4 liter of water and separate the grains by gently rubbing them between your fingers, add two tablespoons of oil.
Put couscous inside the steamer and put it on the boiling couscous pot.
The steam will rise from the couscous.
Let couscous steam for 30 minutes and then tip it out into a large bowl. Now separate the grains again by rubbing them gently between your palms or with fork.
Sprinkle some cold water over the couscous and separate the grains. Now leave it to rest for ten minutes.
After a little break, add the watercress mixture, olive oil, butter and spices to the couscous then mix very well.
Tip all of it back into the couscous steamer.
Steam for another 30 minutes or until the watercress is tender and cooked well.
Now, serve the ifnouzen on a Gasaa with some hot Moroccan tea, and let the peppery taste warm you on a winter evening.