Category Archives: Couscous

Fritters of Leftover Couscous

Fritters of Leftover Couscous

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 20mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Fritters of Leftover Couscous

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, so I was in two minds whether to write this post or not. I mean, this is not the most attractive photo of fritters you have seen and a food blog is supposed to be all about drool worthy images.

But it is not often that I find a leftover recipe as delicious (if not more so) than the original.

With ever escalating rise in food prices, throwing away leftovers is something I really try to avoid. Fortunately, most times, I manage to cook enough for one serving but at times, I end up with a bit more.

This was the case when I had made couscous with avocado and chickpea the other day.

One of my favourite food writer is the (in my opinion, at least) very underrated Lyndsey Bareham whose recipes almost always work. Several years back, when she had a column in the UK’s Evening Standard, I had read a recipe of hers for leftover pasta. From what I recall, you mix the pasta (and any sauce or vegetables it is paired with) with some cheese and egg, bung it in a loaf tin and bake it. Once cooked, take it out of the loaf tin, slice and serve.

This recipe has been sitting subconsciously at the back of my mind ever since although I have never had the opportunity to try it.

For today’s fritter recipe, I have adapted Lyndsey’s method, the difference being that instead of making a baked dish out of the leftover, I turned them into fritters.

The following is using leftover couscous but the basic principle (any leftovers mixed with egg and cheese) can work with the likes of rice, pasta, couscous, quinoa or an other grain/cereal.

It is also adaptable. For instance, you can add more vegetables or meat or lentils if the leftover falls a bit short. In my case, I added a small avocado and half cup of boiled chickpeas to stretch the quantity.

scrumptious with tomato ketchup, mustard or hot sauce

Ingredients

1.5 Cups leftover couscous

1/2 Cup boiled chickpeas

1 Small ripe avocado, mashed

1 Egg, lightly beaten

1 Tablespoon grated Cheddar

A pinch of salt

1 Teaspoon olive oil

Method

  1. Combine all the ingredients (except the oil) in a mixing bowl.
  2. Heat a non-stick frying pan.
  3. Add the oil and swirl it around so that the base of the pan is fully coated.
  4. When hot, lower the heat and add a spoonful of the couscous-egg-cheese mix and pat it down with the back of the spoon.
  5. Do the same with the rest of the mixture. Don’t overcrowd he pan.
  6. Cover and cook on low heat for about 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Uncover, gently flip over the fritters and cook the other side for about 7 to 8 minutes.
  8. Serve hot.

Couscous with Avocado & Chickpea

Couscous with Avocado & Chickpea

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 30-40mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Couscous with Avocado & Chickpea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I feel that the beauty of couscous lies in its sheer versatility. It can be used in lieu of rice as a base for stews, it can go in stuffing vegetables, it can be turned into a pilaf  or used in a salad.

Although I haven’t explored another option, I am sure that couscous would play a relevant role in some puddings.

here’s another couscous salad-y recipe from my repertoire which can be had either warm or cold

Couscous with Chickpea & AvocadoI had two heavyweights by way of chickpea and avocado and wanted to pair them with an ingredient which would compliment them, complete the meal while being light. This is where couscous came into the picture.

The recipe is dead easy, specially if you are using canned chickpeas.

If you plan to soak and boil chickpea to make this, don’t throw away the water in which you boil them. You can use that water to cook couscous with (this is what I did).

Ingredients

1 Cup dry couscous

1/2 Cup cooked chickpea

1 Avocado, ripe

2 Onions

1 Head of garlice

10-12 Cherry tomato

1 Red Pepper

1 Tablespoon raisins

3-4 Dry birds eye chilli

2 Tablespoons pumpkin/sunflower seeds

1 Teaspoon paprika

1 Tablespoon mixed herbs or seasoning of your choice*

10-12 Basil leaves

3-4 Spring onion, white part only

1 Tablespoon oil

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Peel, wash and chop the onion.
  2. Peel and slice the garlic.
  3. Wash the cherry tomato.
  4. Wash, de-core, de-seed and chop the pepper.
  5. Wash and chop the basil leaves.
  6. Slice the spring onion.
  7. Dry roast the seeds till they turn a couple of shades dark.
  8. Heat oil in a frying pan.
  9. Add the dry birds eye chilli and raisins.
  10. Stir for about 30 seconds on low heat till the raisins plump up.
  11. Throw in the chopped onion, garlic and red pepper along with whole cherry tomato, paprika and salt to taste.
  12. Add the mixed herbs.
  13. Stir well, cover and cook for about 8-10 minutes.
  14. Uncover, add the chickpea and basil, cover and cook for 5 more minutes.
  15. When the vegetables are cooked, take the pan off the heat.
  16. Prepare couscous according to instructions on the packet.
  17. Tip the cooked vegetables into the couscous and mix well.
  18. Transfer to a serving plate.
  19. Scatter with chopped spring onion and toasted seeds.
  20. Peel and chop the avocado.
  21. Place it on top of the spring onion and serve.

Note:

  1. In terms of seasoning, I used Laura Santini Umami Paste No. 5, the Mediterranean variant. You can use mixed herbs or any seasoning of your choice.
  2. You can use either smoked or plain paprika. I used the smoked one which gave the dish a nice aroma and a touch of sweetness.

Couscous with Aubergine Stew

Couscous with Aubergine Stew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t you just find it frustrating when you start your day early (like 5.00 in my case this morning) and you are through with your morning ritual and at your desk by 6.00 am thinking smugly to yourself, “oh look at me, I am so good, I am going to start my work day early today” only to find that there is some problem with the internet connection. I know, I know – I should learn to live without the internet, the internet is not the be all and end all, that I should go get a life. But internet is critical for my work and so whenever it goes down, specially first thing in the morning when I get to my desk as happened today, I find it freakin’ frustrating!

Fortunately, there is nothing frustrating about cooking couscous. Each time I cook this easygoing grain, I wonder why I don’t do so more frequetly. It is hassle free in that you can prep it in a matter of minutes even after the sauce or the stew accompanying it is made.

if couscous was a musician and not a grain, it would probably warble I’m easy

Ass Kicking Chillies for Couscous with Aubergine stewFor today’s couscous recipe, I made an aubergine stew with peppers and onions enveloped in my totally kooky sauce. Having never cooked with tahini before (only used it for dressing or in hummus), I wanted to experiment with it during the actual cooking process. Match that with my recently discovered love for tomato ketchup and some hot chillies and you get one creamy yet fiery sauce which totally works with the meek and mild couscous. Toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds provide the lovely – and much desired – nutty and crunchy texture to finish off the dish.

There are plenty of different varieties of aubergine out there. I used the long and slim purple ones. As for the chillies, my greengrocer has got some red chillies which he sold to me a couple of days back. They look harmless (I am told that the big, fat ones are usually mild compared to the skinny ones which are supposed to be wild) but these beauties know how to kick ass!

If you don’t have couscous, you can try the stew with plain rice.

Ingredients

1 Cup dry couscous

150 Grams aubergine

1 Green Pepper

2-3 Hot chillies (adjust quantity according to personal preference)

1 Tomato

2 Onions

1 Tablespoon tahini

1 Tablespoon tomato ketchup

A generous pinch of smoked paprika (optional)

1 Teaspoon sumac* (optional)

8-10 pitted black olives

1 Tablespoon mixture of sunflower and pumpkin seeds

1 Tablespoon dukka* (optional)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Peel, wash and finely chop the onion.
  2. Wash and slice the chillies.
  3. Wash and finely dice the tomato.
  4. Wash and finely chop the green pepper.
  5. Split the olives into two. If you have the unpitted variety, remove the stone.
  6. In a bowl, combine the tahini, tomato ketchup, black olives, paprika (if using) and sumac (if using). Add about half a cup of water and mix well. Set aside this sauce mix.
  7. Heat a frying pan and once it becomes hot, toast the sunflower and pumpkin seeds for a couple of minutes till they turn a light shade of brown. Be careful not to burn them.
  8. Once the seeds are nicely toasted, remove them to a plate.
  9. Return the frying pan to heat and pour the oil.
  10. Once the oil beomes hot, add the chopped onions, tomato, green pepper, chillies and salt to taste. Mix well, cover, lower the heat and let the vegetables cook for 10 minutes.
  11. While the onion mixture is cooking, wash and chop the aubergine.
  12. After 10 minutes, uncover and add the aubergine along with the sauce mix. Stir everything together, add some more water if you think it is needed, cover and let the stew cook for 10 minutes after which time take the pan off the heat.
  13. While the stew is resting, cook couscous according to instructions on the packet.
  14. Plate the cooked couscous with stew over it.
  15. Sprinkle with toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds and dukka (if using).

Note:

  1. Dukka is a versatile Jordanian spice mixture made with roasted sesame, wheat and coriander. It can be used as a seasoning, as a marinade or even in dips.
  2. Instead of sumac, you can use a teaspoon of cider vinegar or red wine vinegar. I wouldn’t recomment lemon or lime juice for this recipe as it would become too sour. You want just a wee hint of tartness.

Warm Couscous Salad the Kooky Way

Couscous the Kooky Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s post is the result of a homemade salad dressing which I wanted to finish. Was trying to think of ways in which it could be used to create a warm dish and this couscous salad is the result.

couscous recipe
couscous recipe (Photo credit: ukcider)

The salad dressing recipe is my sister’s, the kidney beans give this dish a Mexican touch and the vegetable base and seasoning are Mediterranean.

a bit of a kooky recipe with multiple influences

You can adapt this warm salad to whatever you have lying around in terms of vegetables, protein (beans or poultry) and dressing; it is totally flexible.

Ingredients for my Sister’s Signature Salad Dressing

1 Tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon prepared mustard (I used Colman’s original English mustard)

Juice of one lime or lemon

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients in a screw top glass jar.
  2. Shake well till amalgamated.
  3. Will stay good in a refrigerator or in a cool environment for up to a week.

Ingredients for Couscous Salad

1/2 cup boiled kidney beans

1/2 cup cooked couscous*

2 Onions, finely chopped

1 Courgette

1 Yellow pepper

3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 Tablespoon sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds, toasted

One tablespoon anchovies in olive oil*

One tablespoon Laura Santini Taste #5 Umami Paste (optional)*

One tablespoon crumbly, piquant cheese (I used Manchego)

Salt to taste

Method

  1. First, we need to “marinade” the salad base. Add salad dressing to the boiled kidney beans and finely chopped onions. Cover tightly and keep for 4 to 5 hours. Do this in advance so that the flavours develop.
  2. When you are ready to prepare the salad, wash and chop the courgette and yellow pepper in medium sized chunks.
  3. Heat oil, add the courgette and pepper chunks along with a bit of salt, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Throw in the chopped parsley and seasoning of choice. Mix well, cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. By the end of this cooking time, the vegetables should be cooked but still have a bite to them. You don’t want them too soft or mushy.
  5. Leave them covered while you prepare the couscous according to instructions on the packet.
  6. Now add the vegetables, couscous, toasted seeds and crumbly cheese to the onion and kidney bean mixture.
  7. Mix well and serve.

Note:

  1. Cook the couscous according to packet instructions. You can add a stock cube to the boiling water for a bit of flavour if you like. I didn’t because I had boiled the kidney beans in chicken stock.
  2. You can use plain olive oil or flavoured oil to cook the vegetables.
  3. The choice of seasoning is entirely yours. I used umami paste since I thought it would go well with the other Mediterranean flavours.

a few drops of hot sauce over the salad takes it to another level