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Vegetable Couscous

23 May 2014 / 07:05:56  GRReporter
2747 reads

Danielle Lachana

Couscous is found traditionally throughout North Africa and comes in many variations, including those with meats such as lamb, chicken and spicy merguez sausages. This one from Algeria is, however, also  perfect for vegetarians while at the same time proving  to meat-lovers that even boiled vegetables can come to life with a subtle blend of herbs and spices. You can substitute other vegetables according to the season  -  squash and fresh tomatoes are particularly good.

In Algeria, couscous is called kisksū  meaning “food” or “nourishment” indicating its importance as a daily food.

The couscous grains are usually made from semolina and hard (durum) wheat flour, and vary in size - the very fine ones being generally used for desserts. Traditionally it is cooked in a special  two-part steamer (Couscoussière), but the commercially available quick 'soak and serve' couscous produces rapid and reliable results.




(Serves 4 - 6)



* If using fresh chick-peas, precook them as in the GRR recipe for Egyptian chickpea salad - This can be done a day in advance if you store the chickpeas in the fridge.

Heat the olive oil in a fairly deep pan. Sauté the onion over a medium heat until it has softened then add the garlic. Cook for 1 minute, stirring, then add the turmeric, cumin and coriander.

Cook stirring continuously for 2 minutes - do not allow the spices to burn.

Stir in the tomato paste and simmer, stirring frequently for 3 - 4 minutes.

Trim and peel the carrots and turnips and cut into bite-sized pieces or cut into short lengths. Add to the pan together with enough water or stock to cover and the paprika, ginger and cinnamon.

Bring to the boil, cover the pan and simmer for about 20 minutes until the vegetables have started to soften.

Trim the courgettes, partially peel and  cut into bite-sized pieces. Add to the pan and continue to simmer, covered, for approximately 20 minutes or until all the vegetables are cooked through and the sauce has reduced. Add a little water if necessary to prevent drying out.

Adjust the seasoning then add the canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed, or the pre-cooked fresh chickpeas. Cook for about 5 minutes to heat through.  If there is still a lot of liquid left, you can uncover the pan and increase the heat to boil some of it off.


For the couscous:


Put the couscous in a bowl .

Dissolve the butter and the salt in the boiling water and pour it over the couscous.

Allow to stand for 5 minutes for the grains to swell.

Fluff up with a fork.


Serve the vegetables over the couscous and garnish with the fresh coriander or parsley

Tags: Couscous Vegetables Vegetarian Mediterranean recipes Healthy Grains
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