Lebgaa Fanana, 42 years old – Timimoun, Algeria
When I arrived in Timimoun I asked my host if he could introduce me to someone who might take part in my project about the recipes of the grandmas around the world. “It isn’t a problem”, Kader said, “I know a grandma who makes a great couscous, I’ll call her and I’ll ask her to prepare it for tomorrow”. The day after we went to the grandma’s home. Legbaa, a beautiful woman in her 40s, opened the door. She invited us in and offered us a cup of tea. At a certain point, while we were talking, she asked me: ”Are my clothes ok for the photo?” I gaped at her and I answered: “No, I’m sorry, you might have misunderstood, I must take a photo of your mum, I need a grandma for my project”. She laughed and said: “Well, in this house I’m the grandmother. I am 42, my daughter is 21 and my grandson is 2!”.
Chicken and vegetables CuosCous
Time: about 1 hour
-oil, salt, pepper, cinnamon, fresh red chillies
-fresh diced tomatoes
– peeled canned tomatoes
-vegetables for the sauce: potatoes, onions, yellow pumpkin, courgettes, tomatoes
To make a good couscous you should have an earthen pot for steaming. Otherwise, you can use a steel pot with a steel strainer of the same size.
Boil plenty of water in the pot with some oil, two pinches of salt and one of pepper. When the water boils, add the diced tomatoes, a pinch of cinnamon and the chopped chillies.
Cover the pot containing the boiling stock with the strainer and fill it with some semolina (couscous). Let the semolina steam for 15 minutes, put it on a dish and work it with oily hands in order to separate the grains. Then, put it again on the strainer and cook it for other 15 minutes with the stock steam.
Then, the semolina is almost ready, so put it in the stock and add the rest of the ingredients: the potatoes, one onion, the pumpkin, courgettes and chicken, everything chopped.
Cook everything to your liking. Just before serving, steam the semolina for more five minutes. Serve the couscous putting some semolina on a dish and seasoning it with the chicken and vegetables stock.
Fanana has got a secret to make the semolina tastier: she prepares some garlic juice, squeezing a few cloves. She uses this juice and some oil when she works the semolina with her hands, between the second and the third cooking steps.