|On my Aga|
This is a step by step guide of the best way to make couscous. It’s a bit fiddly, and requires that you eschew such blasphemies as quick-cook couscous. But with this method each grain will lift and separate, just like a Playtex bra. No clumps, no sogginess.
So, this weekend, rather than the usual carbs, have a go at making couscous from Northern Africa. I’ve combined it here with spices, sweet and sour flavours and a blood orange salad. The idea is to reproduce that Middle Eastern vibe of fruity acidic tastes into a savoury dish. If you don’t have dates, use apricots or sultanas. If you can’t find shelled pistachios, use almonds. You can riff on my recipe.
Enjoy with a heavy Middle Eastern wine such as Sidi Brahim or something from the Lebanon.
Serves 2 or 3
A cup of warm water with 1-2 tablespoons of sea salt
250g wholewheat couscous
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon whole coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4/5 dates, torn into pieces or
4/5 dried apricots, torn into pieces
20g shelled nibbed pistachios, a startling green
20g of barberries
10g bitter orange peel (optional)
Pomegranate seeds (optional)
You will need either a couscousière (which I don’t have) or a fine mesh sieve/colander, plus a saucepan with a tight fitting lid and a clean tea towel.
Gather together the rest of the ingredients and fry them lightly in the butter.
When the couscous is cooked, add the buttery fruit and nuts on top.