ONE OF THE MOST CHARACTERISTIC DISHES OF THE REGION IS COUSCOUS, A STEAMED, SMALL-GRAINED WHEAT SEMOLINA, SERVED WITH A STEW.
The dish is ancient, mentioned by the Medieval traveller Ibn Battuta, and found for example also in the Western Sicilian cuisine, especially in the province of Trapani, where it was re-introduced after 1600.
One stew that may be served with couscous is the Moroccan tagine, a hearty, somewhat dry dish of meat and vegetables, cooked slowly in a pot (called a tagine) with a tall conical lid. Dishes from the Maghreb region of North Africa are often colored and flavored with the hot spice mixtures harissa and ras el hanout (containing such spices as cumin, coriander, saffron, cinnamon, cloves, chilies, and paprika). Other characteristic flavorings of the region are preserved lemons and dried apricots and raisins.