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Archive for April 26th, 2010

Unflavoured, couscous is really unexciting.  However, flavoured with oils, lemon and herbs or spices it can be transformed into a delicious accompaniment not just for North African dishes, but as a side dish for simply grilled meat or as part of a cold or warm buffet.

This is my variation on a recipe from the book Sarah Brown’s Vegetarian Cookbook. I have several books by this well known vegetarian writer who introduced a BBC vegetarian cookery series in the 1980’s. (See my version of the original recipe: Chickpea & Couscous Salad.) I have changed or substituted some of the ingredients for this version: the original included 1tsp miso (shoyu or soy sauce could be substituted) and 1tsp lemon juice, which I have changed to preserved/Pickled Lemon – also lots (and lots) of chopped fresh Coriander (and it must be fresh).  This is a simple unspicy dish, but would be good with a sprinkling of Sumac, a commonly used eastern spice (see recipe for Grilled Chicken with Sumac & Roasted Banana) or, for a hotter taste, add ½-1tsp Ras el-Hanout or Harissa paste at the same time as the oils.  Cooked couscous keeps for several days in the fridge and may be frozen for up to three months and should be thoroughly defrosted before it is eaten.  If it has coriander added the flavour could be affected when defrosted.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Coriander & Chickpea Couscous Salad
(Serves 4)

225g/8ozs couscous
400g/14oz tin chick peas, drained & rinsed
570ml/1 pint boiling water
30ml/2tbsp olive oil
15ml/1tbsp sesame oil
15ml/1tbsp chopped preserved/Pickled Lemon or lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
5/6 chopped spring onions or ½ red onion, finely chopped
4-6 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (depending on personal taste)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Sumac powder (optional)

1.  Place the couscous, drained chick peas, oils, garlic, spring onion and chopped lemon or lemon juice in a large heatproof bowl or jug.

2.  Pour over the boiling water and mix together with a fork.  The couscous will absorb the liquids quite quickly.

3.  Add the fresh coriander, reserving a little as a garnish if you wish, and season.

4.  If it is to be eaten hot, this salad should be made just before it is served as it cools quickly.  (If necessary, it can be briefly reheated in a microwave, but may need a little more water if this is done although it is best not made too far in advance.)  Alternatively it can be left to cool and is ideal served cold, perhaps as part of a buffet.  

5.  Sprinkle with reserved coriander, or a few individual leaves and a little sumac powder (optional) or ground black pepper.

100_4946 Chickpea Couscous Salad

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Chickpea & Couscous Salad
Here is my version of the original recipe by Sarah Brown.  Good hot or cold.

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