Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Couscous a la me!

So, I've been meaning to share this one with you, since I rediscovered couscous a few weeks ago. This is very much like the Healthy Pasta I shared with you last week, it uses many of the same ingredients, but it tastes quite different. Now, I mentioned my eating plan before, and you may have noticed that I don't stick to it religiously (that would bore me, and you, to death), but I like to use the recommended items where possible. So here's what I had for dinner last night! Oh, and I'll be adding pictures to my posts, as soon as I can beg, buy, borrow or steal a decentish camera from someone!! (Any offers?!)

Couscous with veggies galore! Serves 4
Prep time: 20-25 minutes  
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 onion
4 yellow patty pans
1-3 baby marrows
20 cherry tomatoes
20cm of cucumber handful of frozen peas
half a can of whole kernel corn (or one fresh corn cob, boiled, with all the kernels scraped off) half a can of chopped tomatoes OR some Ina Paarman's tomato pasta sauce OR some tomato pesto 250g couscous, prepared to packet instructions (serves 3-4.

You can really use anything in this dish, but everything should be cut up quite small, I try to make everything pea sized, since I'm not keen on dicing peas, and I think everything should be more or less uniform. But the size is up to you.


  1. Dice all the veggies, after washing and top and tailing where necessary. Like I said, size is up to you, but I try make them all about pea sized for uniformity. 
  2. I do the onions first, because they take the longest to soften, then the marrows, patty pans, peppers and everything else, except the corn, cucumber and peas. 
  3. Fry it all up, in a little oil, on a medium heat, enough that it sizzles, but not high enough to burn, and keep it moving. If it starts to look a little dry, drop in some water, but not a lot, just enough to prevent it sticking to the bottom, and to help soften the marrows. 
  4. Throw in some herbs, or some curry powder, for extra flavour. I have some Zanzibar curry powder left from my holiday last year, which I threw in. Its not insanely hot, it just gives the food a good flavour.  
  5. Now, this works well as a dish on its own, but I made it with pork sausages, you can grill some chicken, make frikkadels (my recipe for which I will soon share), or anything you like really. Even steak! 
  6. Since it contains so many veggies, it fulfills nearly, if not all, of your 5-a-day quota, and the couscous is the starch, so you're pretty much good to go.  
  7. Now, while the veggies cook, make the couscous according to packet instructions. If it looks a little dry when the water has all soaked in, I add some more, and it's great, so feel free to be a little creative with the instructions. Or if, like my sister, you can't make anything without instructions, follow them to the letter!!  
  8. When the veggies are soft, season to taste and add in the chopped tomato or tomato pasta sauce, or whatever. Don't use tons, just enough to lubricate. I used a tiny bit of leftover pasta sauce, and half a can of chopped tomatoes. 
  9. Add in the frozen peas (either parboiled, or frozen, they melt really quickly) and the corn, which should already be cooked. 
  10. Once the peas are melted and warm, and the corn is warm, you can mix the prepared couscous and the veggie mix together.  
  11. Once it's all mixed, if its a bit dry throw in some more chopped tomato, but you should be good to go! Lastly, throw in the cucumber, so it provides a nice, crisp contrast to the warm couscous.
Even with all the chopping, this only took 25 minutes, which, as far as I'm concerned, is a dinner worth making! It got the thumbs up from my sister, and makes a fantastic standalone dish, or as an accompaniment to sausages, steak, chicken, whatever! My next goal is to learn to make tagine, so I can make this with it, how nice does that sound!? We all have to have goals! Enjoy!

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