Thursday, April 19, 2012

Couscous Salad / Pilaf

Couscous - the national dish of North Africa, is a wheat based product made out of semolina of hard wheat using water to bind them. When using couscous for cooking it's a two part process....first part which is most time consuming  is forming the couscous (click here to read the process), which is rarely done anymore. You can easily buy instant couscous(ready to cook) in most of the grocery stores, I in fact bought my first pack from my local Indian grocery stores(it came without any instructions to prepare). Second part is cooking it which is a simple process, how simple if you ask me ? So, the answer is as simple as boiling the water, and I mean literally. On the name of cooking U only need to boil water.

I've been making this since past one year. I won't say it's a family favourite(given a choice between rice & couscous, my family will choose rice only & 4th grader will specify white rice only please, if not I'll take couscous :) ) but if I make it once or twice a month everybody enjoys it & also it doesn't take long to get it ready, so it's a time saver recipe.

Nutrition wise Couscous is among the healthiest grain-based products. It has a glycemic load per gram 25% below that of pasta. It has a superior vitamin profile to pasta, containing twice as much riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, and folate, and containing four times as much thiamine and pantothenic acid. In terms of protein, couscous has 3.6 g for every 100 calories, equivalent to pasta, and well above the 2.6 g for every 100 calories of white rice. Source : Wiki

Today's recipe is merely a guideline. U can add what ever flavours U like  or make it plain & use it with any kind of curry based dish. I have been normally serving it with any kind of fish I make dry or gravy based but last time I served it with pork chops & it was a hit. We love ours with lots of veggies & nuts in it as it give it a little crunch as otherwise the texture is little too soft  for our taste buds.

What I used :

  • 1 cup Instant Couscous (now a days I'm using Near East brand & I like it's texture)
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 carrot
  • half red bell pepper
  • 1-2 stalk of celery
  • 1-2 green chillies
  • handful or more of your favourite nut(I like peanuts, pistachio or cashews in it....chop them if u like)
  • juice of half a lime
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • water 1&1/2 cup *see Notes

Notes : Usually ratio of couscous & water is 1 : 1&1/2 . Using more water can make it mushy/soggy.

What I did :

  1. Take a flat kind of dish. I use square Pyrex dish with lid(avoid using deep pot/pan). Pour the dry couscous on it.
  2. Boil the water, once it's boiled take it of the heat add oil,salt, black pepper & lime juice. Pour it on the couscous, cover it & let it rest for 5 minutes.
  3. In the meantime finely chop/dice all the veggies.
  4. After 5 minutes are over, take the lid off & fluff the couscous with a fork.
  5. Add all chopped up veggies and nuts to it & gently mix it., taste & adjust the seasoning if needed.
  6. Serve it as is or as a part of a meal.
If you add a little more protein to it in addition to nuts, it will be a good lunchbox item and can be prepared a night before.


Priya said...

Wat a super filling and interesting satisfying salad..

Spandana said...

Looks very comforting and delicious!!

Rita said...

Love pilaf; never would have thought to make it with couscous; great recipe.

notyet100 said...

Pilaf looks flavorful,,,:)

Spice said...

Thanks everyone :)

Sayantani said...

thanks for your encouraging comment on my blog. and I feel the same how difficult it is to take good pictures with a kid at home. good to know that am not alone in this the pilaf looks wonderful. I often make couscous when am in big hurry. never tried this version but on my to do list for next time.