Mushroom Couscous Pilaf

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I love to have couscous in my pantry for its quick and simple mode of preparation. There are days, when I don’t have time to cook a pot of rice or even quinoa. Yet, I am not too keen to have any kind of bread either. On such days, couscous is my friend. It steams to its grainy and fluffy self, in just five minutes of soaking in hot water (or stock, to raise the flavor profile). Today, I decided to make this couscous into a veggie-mushroom pilaf, as a quick, light, and tasty workday  lunch.

MUSHROOM COUSCOUS PILAF

Serves two

Ingredients:

1.5 cups of couscous
1.5 cups of vegetable stock (or water)
1 cup of green peas
1 medium carrot
1 small onion
1/2 pound of mushrooms (i.e. 5-6  of baby Bella mushrooms for me. And well… I had only 1/2 pound of mushrooms left…If I had more, I would have happily used them all up. More the merrier :))
3-4 cloves of garlic
1-2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon of cumin powder
Salt and red chili flakes/ pepper to taste
Dried/ Fresh herbs of your choice (I used dried basil)
1-2 Lemon wedge for serving (optional)

Method:

  1. Take couscous in a large serving casserole/ bowl with a lid.
  2. Heat stock/ water (no need to boil though).
  3. Pour the hot stock/ water on couscous. Cover with lid and keep aside for five minutes. Fluff with a fork, afterwords.
  4. Meanwhile, in a skillet heat olive oil.
  5. Slice mushrooms lengthwise and sauté with thinly chopped onion, garlic, and sprinkles of salt, chili/pepper, herbs. On a medium-high heat, it would not take more than five minutes.
  6. Transfer to the pot of couscous
  7. With another dash of olive oil on the skillet, stir fry green peas and grated carrot, on a tempering of turmeric powder and cumin powder. Season with salt.
  8. Transfer to the couscous pot and mix everything thoroughly with a fork.
  9. Enjoy, maybe with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Lima beans tagine

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Oh today’s dinner made me very happy and proud. 🙂

We had this bag of frozen lima beans which I wanted to use.  I had expected that I would try a chili with that. However, we have had to eat out a lot lately. Today’s lunch was also a leftover from last night’s Indonesian dinner. While all the meals we had had were good, we got bit overwhelmed by its meat and salt content. So, I thought,  chili might be little too early. Instead, I went for a vegetarian tagine. In our pantry, I had also found a packet of couscous, which would have made a perfect side.

At the start, I roasted two teaspoons each of cumin and coriander seeds on a hot pan. Once those started giving off their aromas, I made their paste along with garlic, red chilli powder,  a squeeze of lemon, coriander-green chili paste, and olive oil. In a wok, I heated some olive oil and put few slivers of garlic along with cinnamon sticks. Upon that I stir-fried thinly sliced onion till translucent. Since, the dish was to be more of a middle-eastern in nature, I didn’t want turmeric to be very overpowering today. So I added only a pinch or two of it and also avoided the usual fenugreek, mustard, asafoetida flavors altogether. On onions,  I added chopped tomatoes and let it cook for about five minutes. After adding the spice paste upon it, I let the entire sauce simmer for a while. Later I mixed those lima beans, few strands of crushed saffron, and some water. After 15-20 minutes, once the beans were thoroughly cooked, I crushed some beans to add thickness to the dish, and added slices of black olives. For its typical flavor,  I also added a tbspoons of olive brine liquid into the preparation.  Five more minutes on stove and our light but flavorful tagine was ready. To couscous, I had already given the seasoning of basil, parsley, and burnt garlic in olive oil. We finished the dinner with some dates for the dessert to continue with the Moroccan touch.

Today’s meal involved more than one novelties for me…. Tagine, Lima beans, Couscous, mode of preparation, spicing up… I enjoyed cooking,  eating, and sharing it!