Friday, November 30, 2012

Recipe : Moroccan Almond and Harissa Couscous - Vegan

Couscous is often called the staple dish of North Africa. However, in Egypt, the only place I saw couscous on the menu was in Siwa which is close to the Libyan border. We did have couscous for almost every meal that we ate in Morocco and its also popular in Algeria, Tunisia and Libya.

Couscous was originally made from millet, but now its mostly made from wheat, although it is also made from barley, cornmeal and pearl millet in some parts of the world.

500 gms pre-steamed couscous
750ml of thin salted stock (meat or vegetable depending on your personal choice)
1 tsp olive oil
4 tbsp harissa (a Moroccan red chilli paste with a few other spices -adjust this to your taste)
100 gms almonds

Boil the stock.
Take it off the fire, add olive oil and let it cool a little.
Once the stock is slightly above room temperature, add the pre-steamed couscous and stir well.
Cover and let it sit for 5 minutes, fluff the mixture with a fork 2-3 times so the grains stay seperate and fluffy.
Slowly fork in the harissa paste.
Roast the almonds and cut into slivers.
Mix the slivered almonds into the couscous leaving some for garnishing.

Serve hot with a thin stew like Mqualli or a Peasant Stew.

Kim's Tips:
1. If you don't have ready stock, use 1 soup cube in 750ml water and adjust salt to taste
2. Don't add couscous to boiling stock, it will turn pasty and sticky.
3. The stew/curry you serve with a couscous needs to be on the thinner side as the couscous will keep absorbing liquid on your plate.
4. Be careful how much water you drink when eating couscous, the couscous will soak up the water in your tummy and leave you feeling very full and unable to finish all that is on your plate.
5. Be careful about how much salt is in your stock, some varieties of store bought stock tends to be salty, so water it down if its too salty.
6. Couscous is easily available at Godrej Nature Basket in Delhi/Gurgaon/Bombay/Pune and in some food specialty shops. In Ahmedabad, you can pick up couscous at Hypercity (the Waitrose section) or Icy Pik / Magsons

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