Saturday, April 26, 2008

Couscous Salad



Let's set the record straight. Couscous is not a grain, its a pasta. I had to say this here, for I've said this so many times and yet no one believes me. For doesn't it look so much like bulghur or a rougher version of semolina. Yet, this north african staple is steamed and dried before it reaches you, just like any of your pasta.

My favorite couscous is served with a chickpea curry, but its summer and time for salads. And what's better than a minty, fresh couscous salad.

Heat 1 tsp olive oil, then add one chopped spring onion and a crushed garlic clove. Stir in 1/2 tsp of ground cumin and some salt, stir for a few seconds and add a cup of water. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and stir in a cup of couscous. Let it stand for 5 minutes, by which time your couscous would have swelled and all water absorbed. Obviously, this goes for my brand of couscous, but go by whatever it says on your packet.

In a bowl, mix this cooked couscous with a chopped tomato and as much chopped coraiander and mint as you like. Add some pepper, a chopped chilli (or a chopped jalepeno) and juice of a lemon. I usually make this salad in the morning and keep it aside for the flavors to mingle by lunch time, but this is strictly optional. Just before eating, if you want some extra crunch, sprinkle your choice of nuts. Pine nuts recommended but almonds would do for me any day.

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