Couscous is small round granular pasta made from semolina wheat flour. Originally from Northern Africa, couscous is now popular all over the world and India is no exception. Traditionally, making couscous was a long and labor intensive process but in the modern world, quick cooking couscous varieties ensure a delicious meal in virtually no time.
Couscous is just perfect as a light meal or even a snack. It’s delicious, healthy and very simple to prepare. The possible varieties of flavors and tastes are endless. This particular recipe is a personal favorite of mine but feel free to experiment with your own favorite ingredients and combinations of various ingredients.
COUSCOUS, INDIAN STYLE
1½ cups of couscous (quick cooking variety)
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
½” piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
½ cup carrots, peeled and finely grated
¼ cup toasted cashew pieces
¼ cup raisins
1 tsp good quality curry powder
1 cup cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
salt to taste
1-2 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola)
2 cups coconut milk + 1 cup vegetable stock (or 3 cups of water)
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
freshly grated coconut for garnish
In a medium size sauté pan on medium heat, add the oil. When hot, add the ginger and the garlic. Stir-fry for just a minute or so and then add the cashews and raisins. Stir fry and let cook for a few minutes. Next, add the grated carrots, chickpeas, curry powder and salt. Mix well to combine all of the ingredients and let cook for another 2-3 minutes. Now add the coconut milk/vegetable stock and bring to a gentle boil. Slowly stir in the couscous, cover, remove from the heat and let stand for 6-8 minutes. Gently fluff the couscous with a fork, garnish with lots of freshly chopped cilantro and freshly grated coconut, serve immediately.
The variations to this dish are endless. Try different types of nuts and dried fruits such as almonds, pistachios, pine nuts, dried apricots, dried cherries, dried figs, dates or cranberries. Feel free to add chicken stock in place of water for a very flavorful dish. Instead of curry powder, try adding a little garam masala for a truly Indian taste. A little lemon, lime or orange zest adds a wonderful hint of citrus taste. Feel free to add your favorite vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, diced cucumbers, zucchini, corn, black or green olives, green peas, fresh herbs…
For a sweet version of couscous, just add your favorite dried fruits & nuts along with a pinch of sweet spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom or clove) & a drizzle of your favorite honey.