If you're like me and always wondered what the fuss was about couscous—to me it seemed more like a vehicle for flavor, not something flavorful itself—here's your answer. Totally delicious, toasty, wheaty couscous that is as tasty as anything you add to it.
M'hamsa means "by hand" in Arabic, and that's exactly what this is: handmade couscous from the farm of Majid Mahjoub. The ground semolina, from wheat grown on the farm, is mixed slowly with water and touch of sea salt and Mahjoub's extra-virgin olive oil. The couscous is very literally hand rolled and dried the old way, in the sun.
"We make it a first time, then let it rest three days, and then we roll it again," Majid explained. It takes about ten days to make a batch. "We have a whole team. Every person has their role. It's like an orchestra."
This orchestra makes good music. The flavor is far more developed than any other couscous I've tried. The texture is not grainy or mealy but chewy and firm.
Packed in glass jars to protect the pasta. The aroma is grassy and earthy from the addition of olive oil to the couscous. You may not expect the couscous to have that aroma, but it's entirely appropriate and is a sign you're about to taste something good.