Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Lightly Curried Couscous

More years ago than I want to count, I attended a potluck and ate this delicious couscous which was made by my friend Diane. She was always willing to share recipes, and thank goodness for me, because this is one of my staple lenten recipes. I've made this a million times, taken it to dinner parties, to church potlucks, to picnics and sometimes I just eat it at home. I'm not sure if Diane still makes it, but if she's reading this, consider this a reminder of how easy, adaptable to what you have on hand, and how delicious this is.

Lightly Curried Couscous
2 C quick couscous
1/2 C raisins or currants
1 tsp curry powder
1 1/2 C boiling stock or water

1/2 C pine nuts or sunflower seeds or other nuts
1/4 C olive oil

6 med scallions, sliced very thin, with some green parts
2 large shallots, minced
2 med zucchini, sliced lengthwise into quarters and then sliced into 1/2 inch cubes
2 red peppers, chopped coarsely
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp pepper
4 - 5 Tbs lemon juice

Boil the water with the curry powder, then pour it over the couscous and the raisins. Cover and let stand. In a large frypan, saute the nuts in the oil until toasty brown and aromatic. Remove the nuts and put them in a large bowl, leaving the oil behind. Saute the veggies in the oil till al dente. When almost cooked, sprinkle with the salt, cumin and pepper, and finish sauteing. Mix the couscous with nuts and the veggies, including the oil from the frying pan. When everything is mixed well, stir in the lemon juice to taste.

Notes: To make this a main dish, just add one can of rinsed and drained beans such as chick peas, black beans or red beans, or use 8 oz of seitan or tempeh shredded, or even salad shrimp. If its not Lent, this is delicious with cubes of leftover chicken or pork. I use any combination of veggies that I have on hand, as long as I have about 3 cups raw, or 2 cups cooked veggies, and some type of onion is included. Tonight I used sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts, yellow crookneck squash instead of zucchini, one green pepper instead of two red peppers, 8 oz of sliced mushrooms, two large shallots and one bunch of green onions. This makes a wonderful side dish to grilled meats and fish. There are endless variations. Diane doesn't add the lemon juices since she has citrus allergies in her household, but I can attest that it adds just the right piquancy to finish this dish off. The one ingredient that is absolutely crucial to the yumminess quotient of this dish is the raisins - it really needs that little bite of sweetness in each mouthful.

Serves four as a main course, eight as a side dish.

Five stars!

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