Farka - Tunisian Chanukah couscous cake


© Copyright 2013 Sandrine Aim. No usage permitted without prior written consent. All rights reserved.

  • place PRE 30 minutes plus overnight cooling
  • place COOK 60 minutes
  • place SERVES 8 - 10
  • printicon

On the sixth day of Chanukah Tunisians celebrate Rosh Hodesh El Bneit or Fete des Filles — the festival of the girls. Girls are the centre of attention for that day. They receive presents from their parents and fiancées and farka — a Tunisian sweet cake of couscous, walnuts and dried fruit is served.


You will need a large sieve that will fit over a large pan in order to steam the couscous.

  • In a bowl, wash the couscous. Let it drain on the sieve.
  • Reserve the whole walnuts and a few dried cranberries and raisins for the decoration.
  • Return the drained couscous to the bowl and add the sugar, sunflower oil, ground walnuts and the remaining mixed cranberries and raisins.
  • Cut the dates in small pieces and add them to the couscous.
  • Mix all the ingredients in the bowl if possible by hand or with a large fork in order to blend them all together and mash the dates almost to a puree in the couscous.
  • Half fill a large pan with water and bring to the boil. Place the mixture in the large sieve and place it over the pan of simmering water. Cover the sieve with a lid.
  • Steam the covered couscous for approximately 30-45 minutes, stirring regularly to make sure all the ingredients blend together. Do not let the pan boil dry.
  • Let it cool and add the orange juice and zest and a few drops of almonds extract.
  • Mix well and put in a square 22-25cm dish. Decorate with walnuts, dried cranberries and raisins and refrigerate overnight.
  • Serve on the sixth day of Chanukah.



500g fine couscous
500g medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped
100g ground walnuts
50g walnuts
100g caster sugar
100ml sunflower or vegetable oil
2 oranges, juice of both, zest of one
100 mixed dried cranberries and raisins
Almond extract

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