Thursday, September 10, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers - Curried Couscous

I'm not sure if this feature is still in place, but a while ago, the BB group decided to do Backtracking - which meant you could post an old BB recipe that you may have missed. Since I missed a lot of summer, I wanted to feature the recipe for Curried Couscous which I had approached with a lot of trepidation, but it turned out so well its going to be a staple side chez nous.

This recipe jazzes up couscous by adding a host of veggies, and the addition of curry powder gives it a nice spicy kick. I can't stand plain jane couscous, to me, it has the equivalence of eating beach sand. I tinkered around with the store bought versions which have add-ins, most of the time, they were terribly salty and you ended up with 5 limp dehydrated mushrooms withered on a bed of couscous.

I deviated slightly from the original recipe .
First, I opted not to add the yogurt into the couscous at the end. Reason being, the couscous looked and tasted great at this point, and I was worried it would reduce to "glop" with the addition of such a wet ingredient.
Secondly, I added homemade garam masala instead of the ubiquitous "Curry Powder" because sometimes the store bought curry powders are too pungent. I also cooked the couscous in chicken stock to add more flavor. Watch the salt though!
Thirdly, I did a light saute of the veggies that I added because I had mushrooms in the mix, and did not want to eat them raw.

This is a fantastic side with Mediterranean dishes, and as I said before, I'm definitely going to repeat this again as it is such a flavorful spin on plain couscous. Hats off to the Barefoot Contessa for the recipe, and to Ellyn of Recipe Collector and Tester who chose this recipe back in June ‘09.

Curried Couscous - (adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)
1 1/2 cups couscous
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups boiling water - I used chicken stock
Optional - 1/4 cup plain yogurt (I omitted this)
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon curry powder or garam masala
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup small-diced carrots
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup dried currants/craisins/raisins (I reduced the amount originally called for)
1/4 cup blanched, sliced almonds
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms -
sauted till cooked through in a little olive oil2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
1/4 cup small-diced red onion

Place the couscous in a medium bowl.
Melt the butter in the boiling stock/water and pour over the couscous.
Cover tightly and allow the couscous to soak for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, curry, turmeric, salt, and pepper.
Pour over the fluffed couscous, and mix well with a fork.
Saute the carrots and mushrooms in a little olive oil. Add to the couscous, mix well.
Add red onions, parsley, currants, almonds, scallions and season to taste if necessary.


Jaya Wagle said...

That sound simple and delicious. The only variation I would do is to add the turmeric and garam masala (never curry powdr) to the veggies and then saute. I, like all Indians have an aversion to raw taste of spices. At least that's what I am getting from the recipe. Correct me if I am wrong. Seriously.


I love everything made with couscous, this recipe is new for me, It looks