Mesfouf B’Zbib

Mesfouf B’zbib is a steamed couscous made with dry golden raisins. This dish is served during the Holy Month of Ramadan and also throughout the year. A good couscous is best served when steamed twice, and can also be prepared either sweet or savory. This version is a sweet one.

Zbib means dry raisins in Algerian Arabic.

Whilst it takes time to make a good couscous, it is worth it! The dish has officially been inscribed on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. 


  • 200g of golden dried raisins (golden, sultana or sunny)
  • 400g of fine durum wheat semolina
  • 500ml of water (maybe more or less depending of the quality of your couscous)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Butter

Method: (For the raisins)

  1. Place 1 litre of water in the bottom part of the couscoussière, bring to the boil and reduce the heat so the water is just simmering.
  2. Add the golden raisins on the top of the couscoussier and cover with the lid.
  3. Steam the dried raisins until soft and plumpsė
  4. Remove the dried raisins from the couscoussier and put them into a bowl.
  5. Set aside.
  6. Add more water in the bottom part of the couscoussière for the second part of the method.


Method: (For the couscous)

  1. Fill the bottom part of the couscoussier pot with water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Spread the couscous in a large shallow wooden plate or in a traditional couscous plate called Gasaa.
  3. Start moistening with a little of  water a little at a time until all of the water is used.
  4. Lift the grains with your fingertips, rub them, make sure they are all coated with water.
  5. Always add water little by little and continue to rub and rotate with your hands.
  6. You can see the couscous seeds doubled.
  7. Place the top of the couscoussier top over a large plate and transfer the couscous in the  top of the couscoussier.
  8. Dampen a long kitchen towel and place it across the circumference of the rim of the bottom part of the couscoussier.
  9. This is done to effectively seal the top and bottom parts of the couscoussier and to make sure that the steam goes right up through the couscous as opposed to through the sides,  with this technic way we don’t lose any steam.
  10. After a few minutes you will notice steam rising from the top of the couscoussier.
  11. Steam the  couscous for 30 minutes.
  12. After the first steam pour the couscous in the large plate or Gasaa, and gently break the couscous grains with a fork to remove all the lumps (be careful the couscous is very hot).
  13. Pour some  olive oil and rub with your hands the couscous seeds.
  14. Add a large pinch of salt and continue to mix.
  15. Pour a little of water, and continue fluffing and rubbing.
  16. Repeat the procedure one more time for a best texture.
  17. Pour the steamed couscous in the large shallow wooden plate or in a traditional couscous plate called Gasaa and add the steamed dried raisins.
  18. Mix the dried raisins with the couscous.
  19. Add some butter and mix again.
  20. Serve hot with a fresh glass of buttermilk or curdled milk on the side.
  21. This Mesfouf is served with warm honey on the top or icing sugar.

Bonne dégustation!

Saha ftourkoum!


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