COUS COUS SALADThe first time I actually saw couscous being prepared was when my husband and I stayed with friends in France who had worked in North Africa. We had vacationed in Morocco but had obviously never been in the kitchens to see what was happening.
So about fifteen years ago couscous wasn't anything like the instant preparation it is now. Couscous is basically a very tiny pasta - almost a grain of sand in size. We had made the traditional lamb, chicken and vegetable casserole that is also known by the title couscous. We had the pot of stew simmering on the stove with a fine colander fitted into the neck of the pan. The dry grains were then moistened with some of the broth, left to steam for a few minutes and then this process was repeated until the couscous was finally ready. I can't even remember how long it took to do because I only made it a few times again in England.
Now, couscous (Near East brand) comes in a 10oz packet that you just add to boiling water, broth etc and leave to sit for about 5 minutes while it absorbs the water and swells.
Ingredients2 c chicken broth
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 x 10 oz packet plain couscous
1/4 c raisins
1/4 c chopped dried apricots (about 8 halves cut into small pieces with scissors)
1 small zucchini, finely chopped or shredded in processor
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped or shredded
2 green onions finely sliced
1 large tomato chopped or equivalent of cherry or grape tomatoes quartered
4" piece of cucumber peeled and diced
1/2 of 15 oz can chick peas, drained
1/3 c olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Method1. Bring broth to a boil in a 6 qt. pan and add spices. Stir in couscous, raisins and apricots and leave to absorb liquid - about 5 minutes in total.
2. Add zucchini, carrots, tomato, cucumber, chick peas and mix well.
3. In a 1c jug mix together olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper and stir until the mix looks creamy - an emulsion has been formed.
4. Pour this dressing over couscous, stir well and transfer to serving bowl
NotesNone of these spices are hot so don't worry they just give an interestingly different flavor. Turmeric is used more for the color so just use ginger and cinnamon if you don't have turmeric. Some finely chopped celery or green pepper would also go well.
Freshly chopped apple could be added but the apple pieces would need to be turned in lemon juice before adding to the salad to prevent browning. Don't think you have to have to stick to this combination of fruit and vegetables.
Oonagh Williams, proprietor of Royal Temptations, has a Culinary Arts degree, offers a Personal Chef service, teaches a variety of classes in International Cooking, and makes regular appearances on WMUR ABC Channel 9's Cooks' Corner. You can contact Oonagh at 603-424-6412.