Sunday, 27 February 2011

Green herb couscous

I'm recovering from a slightly excessive night in Barn Asia. It's a South East Asian restaurant in Newcastle city centre, and the food was very good. We had huge tempura prawns, shaking beef, a delicious pork and rice dish and tiny cinnamon doughnuts with a strawberry compote. Alongside this was a bit too much red wine so I feel the need for vitamins today. I need something green and this Ottolenghi couscous is about as green as you get...


Slice the onion in half and then into thin slices. Cook it in a tablespoon of olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Cook it slowly for about 10 minutes or more until it is really soft and turning golden brown. Add half a teaspoon of ground cumin and cook for another few minutes.

While the onion is cooking you can get on with all the other stuff. Put 150g couscous in a bowl and cover with the same volume of water or stock, I used chicken stock, I think it gives it more flavour. Cover with cling film and leave it to sit for about 10 minutes, until you've done everything else really.

You really need a food processor for the herbs, I only got one in the last year and it's brilliant. If you don't have one, you are going to need quite a lot of patience and good fine chopping skills... Or you could make something different... You need to wizz up 20 grams of parsley and 20 grams of coriander, it's about the size of the little bags you get in most supermarkets. Then add about half that amount of dill and mint. I've made it with various combinations of herbs and its still good even you're missing some of them. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil so its like a loose paste that is very green...

Fork through the couscous and stir through the herb paste. Chop up 3 or 4 spring onions and add them. Chop up one green chilli into fine slivers and add also. Stir through the salty cumin onions.


Roughly chop up a few big handfuls of rockets and stir through, and finally toast off some pumpkin seeds in a dry pan and scatter them into the couscous.

I think this is so tasty, the sweet salty cumin onions really add something special, along with the crunchy pumpkin seeds. It is so green and herby, I don't think I've ever added quite so many to a dish before. I've served it as one of a few salads at a bbq before, on this occasion just with some grilled chicken...



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