Thursday, September 23, 2010

Instant Cous Cous recipes

I'm doing couscous recipes in much the same way regularly now, having just about perfected the process I think. 

I always buy the packets of fine couscous from the Turkish grocers, because it makes a better texture than medium sized couscous grains, I think, and keeps better than the cardboard boxes. In fact cardboard boxes are a very bad idea after the outbreak of Indian moths in the food cupboard!

To make the couscous I pour the dry grains into a pyrex dish that has a lid, and add a ladle or two of the broth from whatever stew I'm making to have the couscous with. I'll add a knob of butter at this point as well then stir it in until the butter has melted. Then I add enough water from a recently boiled kettle to just cover the couscous, fold it in for a few seconds, then put the lid on tight.

About three minutes later when it's time to serve up I remove the lid and fluff the couscous, allowing the steam to escape.  I might add a teaspoonful of Harrissa at this point, then serve.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Seafood Couscous Recipe

For this seafood couscous recipe you will need access to a good fishmongers, a market seafood stall or best of all a harbour where fish and seafood are landed and sold on the quayside.

There are two approaches to cooking seafood with couscous. One type of recipe cooks the fish portion as a whole piece or fillet of fish or as a rich mixture of seafood cooked together in a creamy sauce. The couscous is cooked separately, maybe using some of the fish stock to help flavour the grains.

The other type of seafood couscous recipe is more like a paella or biryani in principle, only using the couscous as a quick cooking substitute for the rice.  That's a bit trickier because you'll need to add each of teh seafood and fish ingredients at just the right time before adding the couscous to soak up the juices and liquid so that everything is cooked just perfectly together.

Whichever type of recipe you go far, the most important thing is choosing and buying the seafood itself. I would suggest that any of the following might be included but you really need to look and see which is freshest and best value on the day when you do the shopping, which should ideally be the same day as the cooking.

Squid - fresh whole squid, not just the tubes because the head and tentacles make a rather attractive addition.

Mussels - live mussels in the shells are best but cooked mussels not in too much vinegar can be very tasty too.  The shells do tend to make a bit of a mess in the couscous, and you definitely don't want any barnacles remaining when you do this.

Undyed Smoked  Haddock - The best type to add a subtle smokey flavour without having too much artificial flavouring or making the whole dish turn a lurid orange colour.

White Fish - Deliberately vague because seasonal. Anything from cod and coley to hake and pollock.

Oily fish - leave out. If you love oily fish as I do then have fried sprats as a starter or serve the barbecued mackerel with a couscous side dish.

Octopus - lovely when simmered in a Tom Yum soup mix then cut up into chunks and served cold in a couscous seafood salad recipe.

Whelks - yes you can chop up boiled whelks and use that to add a nice chewy texture to any mixed seafood dish if you don't have any large squid for example.  

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Turkish Couscous Recipe - Kisir

Kisir or Turkish Couscous is made from Bulgur wheat or cracked wheat rather than the pasta based couscous that we know from Tunisia and Morocco.

2 Cups Bulgur Wheat
4 Cups Water
1 Tbs Salt
1 Tbs Tomato Paste
1 Tbs Ground Cumin
1 Medium Chopped Onion

2 Diced Tomatoes
1 Bunch Chopped Green Onion/Scallions
1 Bunch Chopped Dill
1 Bunch Chopped Mint
1 Tbs Red Pepper Flakes
1/2-1 Cup Sunflower or Vegetable Oil
Juice of 2 Lemons

Serves 6 - 8 persons.

Bring water and salt to heavy boil. Add bulgur wheat, tomato paste, cumin, chopped onion and stir. Cover, turn off heat and let sit for 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well together. Turkish Cous cous can be prepared in advance and served at room temperature on a bed of green leaf salad.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Couscous House

Couscous House
Originally uploaded by AndyRob
There are more and more good couscous restaurants in London now, including a little Metterranean cafe near where I live in Manor park East London. The one in the photograph is Maison Touaregue

22-24 Greek Street
London, W1D 4DZ
020 7439 1063