In this picture it doesn’t look sensational, but it’s our fault, because this is a really tasty and beautiful dish: if you love ethnic cooking, give it a try and you won’t regret it.

T’faya is a moroccan sauce made with onions that accompanies meat or vegetable couscous: onions are caramelised, stewed with a generous amount of raisins and ground almonds, perfumed with honey, cinnamon and – of course – saffron.

It is a traditional recipe, so we just whisper to your ears the word “vinegar”: if you happen to like it as much as we do, you’ll find that it nicely cuts the sweetness of the raisins and the honey, about which we also advise you not to consider it optional: using sugar doesn’t give the same result.

We found this recipe in a nice book, Atlante delle spezie di Daniela Annetta (Pentagora 2016), but we made some changes: first of all, we prepared a somewhat simplified version only with chickpeas, because the recipe called for summer vegetables and now it’s just the beginning of March; then we reduced the almonds and halved the quantity of raisins, which in the original recipe was almost excessive – even for us (we love raisins a lot!).


For 2 people:


half a 0.20 gr. jar of Zappoh! saffron stigmas

2 medium onions, finely sliced

2 tablespoons of extravirgin olive oil

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

70 gr raisins

30 gr almonds, finely chopped

2 tablespoons of honey

salt and pepper

230 gr cooked chickpeas (one tin), well rinsed

120 gr of couscous


First of all, crush the saffron threads, either in a pestle and mortar or wrapped in a small square of baking paper, using a glass or jam jar.

Transfer the saffron powder to a small coffee cup and pour hot (not boiling) water; cover with a saucer or clingfilm and steep it for as long as you can, from 45 minutes up to 48 hours.

In a large frying pan, on a medium heat, cook the onion with 2 tablespoons of oil and half a glass of water: stir frequently and add some more water if you think onions need it.

After 20 minutes, add the chickpeas, the cinnamon, the almonds, the raisins, the honey (the vinegar, if you want to use it); season with salt and pepper and keep on cooking the onions for 20 minutes more.

According to the instructions on the packet, make the couscous: just remember to fluff it up, when it is cooked, with a fork, not with a spoon (otherwise you won’t get rid of the clumps).

Just before serving, add the saffron with its liquid to the pan and mix well.

Traditionally, couscous is served in a common dish, with the vegetables or the meat in the centre, and everybody can help themselves, often with their hands.