Fish Couscous with Onion T'faya

Fish Couscous with Onion T'faya

5 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine September/October 2008

T'fayas, special-occasion dishes served all along Morocco's Atlantic coast, are known for their thick, sweet and heavily spiced sauces. This one gets a pleasant layer of sweetness from raisins and a touch of sugar, which marries perfectly with halibut.

Ingredients 8 servings

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  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 saffron threads, (see Ingredient Note)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 large onions, (2-2 1/2 pounds), very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, fish broth or vegetable broth, divided
  • 2 1/2 pounds Pacific halibut, or other firm white fish, skinned and cut into 2-inch wide pieces
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
  • 1 cup whole-wheat couscous


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  1. Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with warm water; let soak for 10 minutes. Drain.
  2. Crush saffron and salt together in a mortar and pestle until a coarse powder forms. (Alternatively, place saffron and salt on a cutting board and use the flat side of a chef's knife to grind into a coarse powder.) Combine with ginger, turmeric, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the spice mixture and cook, stirring, until the mixture starts to foam. Add onions, sugar and the plumped raisins. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn light brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Add 1 cup broth and nestle fish into the onion mixture. Cover and cook until the fish is flaky, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with pepper. Cover and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, heat canola oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add almonds and cook, stirring, until just beginning to turn golden, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels.
  5. Bring the remaining 1 1/3 cups broth and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to a boil in a small saucepan. Add couscous in a stream. Stir once. Cover, remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  6. To serve, mound the couscous on a shallow platter. Top with the fish and onion t'faya and sprinkle the almonds on top.
  • Ingredient note: The dried stigma from Crocus sativus, saffron adds flavor and golden color to a variety of Middle Eastern, African and European foods. Find it in the spice section of supermarkets, gourmet shops and at It will keep in an airtight container for several years.

Nutrition information

  • Per serving: 435 calories; 17 g fat(4 g sat); 6 g fiber; 39 g carbohydrates; 33 g protein; 33 mcg folate; 77 mg cholesterol; 10 g sugars; 187 IU vitamin A; 5 mg vitamin C; 48 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 843 mg sodium; 881 mg potassium
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 2 1/2
  • Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 fruit, 4 lean meat, 2 fat

Reviews 5

March 07, 2013
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By: cookin7
OMG! Delish!!! I HATE fish, but because I'm trying to eat healthier I tried this. I took my first bite with trepidation, only to be blown away from the wonderful taste. Even the picky kids were gobbling it up. Did I mention that I really HATE FISH? I don't hate it anymore! I used Tilapia in this dish.
August 12, 2012
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By: Beth
Exciting Change of Taste Loved the taste and the simplistic nature (of a two-dish meal). Modified it slightly by making 1/2 the recipe and omitting raisins (although I realize this was probably not ethnically correct) and adding a chopped carrot. We loved it and I will make it again, although I may add more ginger! Served it with green beans on the side. Pros: Flavorful Cons: None
November 11, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
I made this recipe tonight for the first time and used grouper. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly. It was fantastic. The whole family loved it, even the kids who are picky eaters! Although, I think I will toast the slivered almonds in the oven next time, easier to get them to turn golden more evenly that way and no need to add the extra oil. I'm wondering if anyone has tried this recipe without the butter and substituting more olive oil. I may try that next time.
May 16, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
This one is terrific. Have made it many times and it rich but not heavy. Complesity of flavors makes it special and a nice dinner vacation.
October 06, 2009
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By: EatingWell User
I have made this dish several times and it is fantastic. I usually use cod because it is more available, but I don't think the fish really matters because the blend of spices is just very complex and very satisfying.