Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Couscous, And Some News

The appearance of some live forms of protein was no deterrent. It had cost good money, and it had to be used, so this was what I made with the last of my last batch of couscous.

I now have another batch of two big packets. It made its way here last January, a year and a month ago. I finally managed to inaugurate it last week. Along with that batch of couscous came a batch of other Mediterranean delights, which included sumac, thyme mix, zatar and orange flower water. I've used some of them on and off in the past year, the last is waiting to be opened. When that momentous occasion occurs, you, dear readers, will be the first to know.

Some chickpeas were waiting to be used up; so was a pack of commercial tomato puree. (I don't remember why I bought it, as I don't like it.) I thought I need to make a beginning on the couscous before it attracted life again, so out of the first 2 lb packet I had, I used half a cup.

I cooked this couscous by following the instructions on the other couscous packet, substituting plain water for stock, so I suggest you just follow the pack instructions if you make this dish. (Why didn't I do as I say? The pack I used didn't have instructions.) I had made savoury couscous just once before - it was bigger, and while the sauce used some of the same ingredients, the spices added to it made it very different so it was a new venture all over again for me.

Here's how you make the sauce:

Tomato puree: 200 ml (or just a little short of 1 cup)
Chickpeas/channa: 1 cup, soaked overnight, drained, washed, (pressure) cooked
Green thyme mix: 2-3 tbsp (Mine contains thyme, coriander, cumin, anise, fennel, sesame and salt)
Onion: 1, sliced
Garlic: 5 cloves, sliced
Olive Oil (EVOO): 1 tbsp

Heat the olive oil gently.

Add the onion and garlic and sweat them lightly.

Now add the tomato puree and 2 tbsp of the spice mix.

Mix well, keep stirring till well mixed.

*Taste. The spice mix already contains salt so make sure the sauce isn't salty, or overpoweringly spicy.

Depending on this, add salt, and more of the spice mix if you like.

Add the chickpeas and let it cook on simmer till it absorbs the flavours.

Now, I have some news for you. As if work, reading, this blog, a year-round photo-a-day project, insomnia and other businesses aren't enough, I've volunteered to collaborate on a group blog, The Great Vega'N Vegetarian Project. The initiative of Cynthia at Tastes Like Home, this blog was born out of her realisation that much of the food we cook is naturally vegan and vegetarian, and often, unconsciously so. As most of the food that I cook routinely (and does not make it to this blog) falls into that category, I will write about it there.

I'm sending this couscous and the chickpeas off to Presto Pasta Nights hosted this week for Ruth by Mrs Ergul - Passion for Life and Food as well as My Legume Love Affair hosted for Susan by The Cripsy Cook.


  1. One more project Sra, wow, hats off to you girl, I am struggling with the two I have. Good luck, now let me go check out what it is all about...Oh btw, that is a nice idea for a pasta sauce!

  2. I have only had couscous as a salad...none like it and it has since been away from the menu. Good luck on your newest venture!

  3. I wish I could lay my hands on that cpmbp packet... make date ma'moul with the orange flower water

  4. Lovely couscous and chana!!!looks delicious and tempting!!! I too make couscous..please came check my version on my blog..


  5. Okay, I am curious, you reserved some of the chickpea in sauce to serve along with the couscous mixed in and cooked with the rest of the chickpea?

  6. I love couscous...this is such a delicious dish. I also love your new project! All the food over there looks so delicious.

  7. Sig & Rachel, thanks. Hope I can do justice to it!
    Raaga, let's see - the sweet tooth isn't asserting itself these days, touch wood!
    Jagruti, will do.
    Not yet, thanks
    Cynthia, no, I just mixed it with a bit of the sauce for the picture - wanted to mould it rather than show it all heaped up as it was late nite and I didn't have the energy to be more artistic at that point.

  8. That reminds me of the couscous packet I have sitting in the pantry.

    That is great combo and now have an idea.

    So true Sra, leaving aside the live forms of protein that seemed to populate (y)our part of the world most food we cook is naturally vegan. Indeed a good venture.

  9. Good morning Miss! Yeah! I remember the Cous Cous story, atleast you are using the packs. Looks yummy topped with Chole sauce.
    There is Tomato puree and then there is Tomato sauce. Puree is very concentrated, I use only a tbsp at a time, very tangy. Sauce you can use a cup or more.
    More projects? No wonder you can't sleep!!!!!! Hahahhahahahha!!!!

  10. I had live forms last year in my ponni rice that shriveled and died after a sunbath. And yes, I too washed them away when they skimmed to the surface. Of course, all this was done in secrecy or T would have thrown the 4 lb packet in trash!
    I have made couscous once before in my life and never with chickpea sauce. But commercial/ canned tomato puree is a staple substitute in my pantry in lieu of tomatoes.
    And another project Sra. You are a wonder woman! I am swamped with two, school and a toddler. And I don't even have a job.

  11. What is orange Flower water ? Yet to use couscous.

    Loved Cynthia's project and hats off to you for multi-tasking hugely :)

  12. great couscous

    best of luck for your new venture

  13. I scrolled down to see what the news let me go back and read the rest of the post. Good luck with the new project.

  14. I too have gotten couscous smuggled from UK when my hubby used to go there pretty much every month on work - now that his new job no longer requires him to do that, I have to be careful with how i use these foren stuff - only that i have to be careful no other live forms get to the goodies before we do - I did one couscous with chickpea tagine - on similar lines
    Looking to follow your new project

  15. Couscous in salads is something I do, but chickpeas..Looks almost like kharabath..
    The project 365 photos are something I look for in blogs that are in the project. I like the idea of looking at them years later :)
    Good luck with the new one.

  16. couscous packet is lying untouched..this looks like a good place to start!

  17. Thank you for sending this recipe over to My Legume Love Affair #20!

  18. The sauce sounds unique and healthy. I love couscous, while my other half does not. I still make it for myself once in a while.

    more projects? good luck:-)


  19. Hats off to your high enerygy Sra! All the best too! I am sure u'll rock! And I have never eaten couscous. Where do u buy it ? How does it taste ? I assume it to taste like bulghur wheat (but not that nuttier) and the chickpea sauce proves to be the perfect match!

  20. I love couscous. Your couscous looks delicious with the chickpeas.

  21. Sra, though this project looks great, no more pls..else you won't have time to even breathe!..heheh..good job though!

  22. Nothing like a pasta dish to help manage a great meal while juggling all your other projects.

    Thanks for sharing this one with Presto Pasta Nights.

  23. Sra,
    this is a great combo, and yeah i have slowly started liking cous-cous ..made cous-cous upma last..
    I am going to check your new project now :) ...
    hugs and smiles

  24. congrats on your latest project. sounds like you'll have fun. couscous and chick peas are my favorite. ;-)


  25. @Jaya Wagle: I am laughing at your comment. If S sees a little worm in the neighbour's yard, it may be enough for him to get me to throw out all my rice, rava, dal etc

  26. Thank you. Finally I got a chance to believe that probability theory exists. I am still wondering how I won coz only Murphy's law works with me :)

  27. another project! wow, insomnia really has its benefits, in ur case.:)

  28. I lurve cous cous with tagine. Morocco was gorgeous.

  29. This is a delicious dish!

  30. where ever did you get couscous here?? I have tried everywhere! Unless you count the Mediterranean restaurants where they just make it for you!


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