22 July 2011

Too hot to cook: Moroccan Couscous

In my ongoing exploration of foods that won't heat up the kitchen, I would like to present humble couscous: exotic ingredient of the moment circa 1992, this lovely, versatile, and quick-cooking grain has been shoved to the back of the pantry in favor of millet, wheat berries, and other complicated things. But couscous is available everywhere, it is practically cooked as soon as it comes into contact with hot water,  and it is tasty and satisfying hot or cold.  

Moroccan Couscous

It seems simple, but the subtle North African flavors in this side dish elevate a meal of roasted vegetables or meat.  For a meal, toss those leftover veggies and meat into the couscous and sprinkle with some slivered almonds.  

Serves 4-6 as a side, 2-4 as a meal.
I threw an egg on top of mine. 

1 ½ cups couscous
1 1/3 cups water
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons butter

In a saucepan, bring water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil.  Remove from heat, stir in uncooked couscous and fresh ginger, cover and allow liquid to absorb, about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a dry skillet over medium heat, toast all spices until fragrant; remove from heat and add butter, stirring until it melts.  

When couscous is done, fluff and stir in spiced butter and cilantro.