Tamkharit: Achoura couscous, a very colorful cooking recipe

Mame Khary Léye & Khadim Fall

Today is "Yow ma al Achoura", which means New Years Day in Arabic. Many Senegalese speak of "Tamkharit" which is actually celebrated on the tenth day of the Muslim year. In Senegal, “Tamkharit” has become a legal holiday since 1976.

In all families, couscous made from millet flour accompanied by a sauce with meat or chicken is on the dinner menu. Everywhere, we are getting ready to feast around the big family bowl.

Couscous, a very colorful cooking recipe

Tonight the menu will be a succulent couscous with a creamy red sauce in which meat, chicken, raisins and white beans float.

Everyone must have a full stomach tonight. According to tradition, anyone who does not have a full stomach in Tamkharit will be hungry all year round. It is the pretext for abundant meals, composed mainly of millet couscous, followed by a "carnival" during which the women dress up as men and vice versa.

Our women, always inclined to the preparations for festivals seem to be in heaven. This feast, corresponding to the 10e muslim new year day is different from others. Tamkharit does not require too much money or too much time. The charm of the holiday is in its simplicity, an evening meal and festivities. But, some of our women will always find a way to do more than enough. "It's just excitement," relativizes Adji Ndoumbé, sixty toothpicks in his mouth. "They're the ones who bring that euphoric touch of color," she blurted out.

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Note, Awa Baba Ndiaye, one of Adji Ndoumbé's daughters-in-law, whispers to us that she has bought a new boubou for tonight's party. "This is my first Tamkharite as Mrs. Sarr, I just want it to be memorable, combining beauty, kindness and generosity in serving food," she pretends, a charming little smile revealing the teeth of happiness.

Mamie Adji Ndoumbé will surely agree that, what could be more beautiful than serving a succulent dish of couscous with a face painted to perfection, in a traditional boubou reminiscent of those of the queens of Africa. In the same vein, Ndeye Daba also tells us that her sisters-in-law have decided to have the same traditional clothes made for the occasion. Taking into account the fact that this holiday marks the official celebration of the Muslim New Year, a new dress would not be refused.

Sitting like a queen, giving directions to young women busying themselves with the traditional couscous, grandma Adji Ndoumbé at the same time reminds them of how women of the time she was called "Young lady" assisted their mothers on these occasions. "Nothing like the ones now, so lazy, not knowing how to do anything with their ten fingers apart from typing a machine, fiddling with their phones and holding a pen," she throws at them. The young women who are directed at these arrows try to cover up the fact that they are laughing, but their pouts betray them.

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10h. At this early hour, however, for the preparation of a dinner, the smell of couscous already titillates the nostrils. The tour of five houses in the popular district of Gueule-tapée confirms this fact. Those who enter these houses come up against utensils, basins, chicken, meats, and condiments, piled up pell-mell in the courtyard. In the Touré house, the housewife, the hostess and her daughter share the tasks. "I'll take care of the lunch," said Astou, a housekeeper by trade. "My boss and her daughter are cooking Tamkharite's dinner," she blurted out, her eyes riveted on the onion she's slicing.

Something astonishing. In some families, the traditional couscous gives way to Moroccan couscous. So many changes!

A lady, in her thirties, Aminata Pam says: “For two years, I have favored Moroccan couscous. " The reason given for this choice relates only to the ease of preparation. Aminata claims it takes less time and expense than millet couscous. "The process of preparing traditional couscous is long," she said, insisting on the long, like exhausted just thinking about it. As if to justify this choice, the lady confides that the little family has nothing to say about it. "My stepfather doesn't mind it," she says. "He maintains that traditional couscous is heavy for his taste," she continues.

Apparently, the situation is on the verge of change.

Categories Cooking

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