11.7.08

Friday Fun: Food Fiesta

Yep...you read it right. It's back - just not every fortnight though (which means I'll have to go re-label the old posts - gah!). Just when the mood strikes - which will only be on a Friday. Shall be interspersed with the Friday Fun Fact/Fiction, and maybe Friday jokes. The day shall be for fun. Friday Fun. See?

So - this is for OTP, and Space Bar, and Cynic, who complain about making something quick and easy. It's healthy, it requires NO cooking, and it's scrumptious.

And most of all, it's for Pri, who never cooks any of it and loves to make fun of all the ideas (my butter-and-rice still rocks, btw).

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Easy Couscous Dish

Time Required:
10-30 minutes (depending on method)

Keep Ready (for 2):
Couscous, one cup
Olive oil
Cucumber, small one, quartered slices
Tomatoes, two, medium chunks
Red onion, half, sliced
Spring onions, two, chopped
Coloured bell peppers, one in total, sliced
Olives, pitted, handful
Raisins, handful
Feta, cubed
Green tabasco sauce
Lemon juice
Coriander, chopped roughly
Mint leaves
Oregano, pepper, salt

Then:
The couscous can be prepared in one of two ways. The first, most common, and easier method is to place the couscous in a bowl with an equal amount of boiling water, cover the bowl and leave for 5 minutes, and then add some oil and separate grains with a fork. The couscous is fine if made this way.

However, the fancier, better, and traditional (or so I believe - help me out here, Szerlem) method is to steam the couscous, which helps it absorb the moisture gradually, and fluffs it out beautifully into plump, individual grains. To do this, use a normal vegetable steamer. Failing that, put the couscous into a steel bowl and simmer it in a pressure cooker - without the whistle on. Failing that, place the couscous in a colander, and put it in a water bath. For any of these three methods, give it at least 15 minutes, and ideally about 25 minutes*.

While the couscous is getting ready, chop up everything else.

When the couscous is done, add some olive oil and mix well. Then add everything else in, season to taste, and garnish with coriander and slices of lemon.

Serve, with triangles of toasted pitta, and (of course) hummus.

Why you should try this:
People, no cooking. And it has vegetables. And it has a wonderful blend of sweet and spicy and savoury and crunchy and ...err...softie (?). And couscous is far more nutritious than rice, and lighter to eat as well.

This dish is ideal for the summer as a side-dish; or, if you make enough, can serve as your main course.

Focus on:
1) Add as many or as little of the ingredients, but make sure there's enough variation of colour.
2) The Green tabasco sauce. This is just...wow. And it totally transforms the dish.
3) Lemons are preferable to lime - it just is for this dish.

Variations:
1) If you can't find couscous, use bulgur wheat. Not quite the same though.
2) If you don't have feta, try some holoumi. Or, as a last resort, paneer - but this has to be firm paneer. And you should grill it.
3) If you can't find green tabasco, try some green jalapeno sauce.
4) If you like it spicy, add some sliced jalapenoes, or some chopped green chilli.
5) Add some cooked prawns, or some falafel.


* This one food show I saw (Rick Stein perhaps) found this place in .... somewhere... where they steam the couscous for four hours. But they were gorgeous.

12 comments:

Mockingword said...

Ooh. Simple and nice.No scope for kitchen disasters either. Will try it right away.

Wow!

Now that I am ah-so-impressed, can we have Friday Fun Fact/Fiction back?

Aishwarya said...

1. This looks gorgeous, thanks. I don't eat enough healthful tasty things.

2. Email me, please? bluelullaby at gmail. Needed to ask you something.

shyam said...

You're supposed to steam the couscous with the reqd amount of water, right? (This is a genuine, serious question.)

??! said...

mockingword:
Oh, goody.
Next edition of Fun Fact is next Friday.

aishwarya:
1. Who does?
2. Okie-dokie.

shyam:
Umm...you mean as you would if you were preparing the couscous by just covering it with water? Then no.

You put a lot of water, and let it steam. Because the couscous takes time to absorb the moisture, and in that time the water will evaporate quickly, you need a big base of water so that it can continue to steam without yo having to check on it.

(and why would I think you're not serious?)

DewdropDream said...

I only cook on Sundays... and then too never anything that is out of the way of rajma, chhole, aaloo sabzi... err you get it. I'll save this recipe for one of those days when am feeling hyper-creative and want to experiment. And I'll make that sandesh for dessert, like I've been meaning too.

Lekhni said...

This sounds interesting. On the "requires no cooking", I guess you don't consider steaming stuff and chopping veggies part of cooking, then ;)

My idea of "no cooking" is a grilled cheese sandwich.

brinda said...

phew! steaming, cutting (loads of)veggies = cooking. ordering in = not cooking :-)
(oh ok, heating up stuff is cooking in my book)

??! said...

Dewdrop/Lekhni/brinda:
How is chopping up a bunch of veggies, and mixing them with some add-hot-water-and-its-ready couscous, and seasoning the whole thing...cooking?

My idea of not cooking is a bar of chocolate. Dark, of course.

Cynic in Wonderland said...

verr nice. shall try it on the weekend.

( uhm u also dont think searching for the vegetables in godforsaken pune is a part of the cooking bit, do you?)

Szerelem said...

Ummm yes, I am catching up with unread blog posts only now. Sowwy. But this made me hungry...darn.

Also, why would you think I know about courcous??!! Well, I mean, I only eat. Cook - not so much :D

??! said...

Szer:
Figured you might have seen some being made while in Turkey. You will ask around when you're there this time?

Szerelem said...

Oh darn - just replied to your comment on my blog...but I have to tell you that the best couscous I have ever eaten was in Paris at Chez Omar. Omg, it was so good...darn I just got hungrier...