Five couscous creations - recipes

By Angela Day Time of article published Mar 7, 2016

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Angela Day


Granules of semolina, couscous can play the same role in a meal as rice, but it is ready so quickly.

It is a staple in countries such as Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The word couscous also refers to the Maghreb dish in which the small balls of semolina are steamed in the perforated top part of a special pot called a couscoussiere, while chunks of meat or vegetables simmer in the bottom.

Traditional couscous is not what we buy in boxes from supermarkets, but is something that requires laborious preparation. However, the pre-cooked “instant” stuff requires very little work. Just add an equal amount of water or stock, leave to stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and season.

It can be served with milk as a porridge, incorporated into a salad or served as the base on which curries, stews and tagines are served. Sweetened, it can be a dessert.



30ml olive oil

1 onion, chopped

5ml chopped garlic

5ml ground cinnamon

250ml couscous

250ml hot chicken stock

salt and pepper

80ml chopped dried apricots

80ml chopped dried cranberries

125ml chopped parsley

50g toasted pine nuts or chopped toasted almonds

1 egg, beaten

1 chicken, deboned

olive oil for rubbing

Heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic over a medium heat until soft.

Add the cinnamon and fry for a few seconds.

Add the couscous and stir well to coat it with the spice and onion mixture.

Add the stock and stir well. Remove from the heat and cover. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Fluff with a fork and season well.

Stir in the dried fruits, parsley and nuts. Mix in the egg.

Place the mixture down the middle of the de-boned chicken and fold over the sides.

Secure with toothpicks or sew up with a trussing needle and thin string or dental floss. Make sure there are no openings for the stuffing to escape.

Place the chicken in a roasting pan and brush with olive oil and season well.

Roast at 180degC for 60-70 minutes until golden brown.

Remove and rest covered with foil for 10 minutes before carving.

This is delicious served warm or cold.



Serves 4-6

160ml couscous

160ml boiling vegetable stock

4 large brinjals

30ml olive oil

1 red onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

15ml ground cumin

5ml chilli flakes

2 tomatoes, finely chopped

45ml currants

60ml pistachios, chopped

100g feta, crumbled

45ml chopped fresh mint

45ml chopped fresh coriander

salt and pepper

extra olive oil, for drizzling

Place the couscous in a heatproof bowl. Pour over the boiling stock, cover with clingfilm and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Afterwards, fluff up with a fork and set aside.

Meanwhile, cut the brinjals in half lengthways and scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1cm-thick border around the edges.

Place the brinjal halves on a baking tray.

Finely chop the flesh.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Add the cumin and chilli flakes and fry for a minute.

Stir in the reserved brinjal flesh and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add to the couscous in the bowl and mix to combine.

Stir in the currants, pistachios, feta and herbs and gently mix through. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the couscous mixture evenly among the brinjal halves, drizzle with some olive oil and bake in a preheated oven at 180degC for 30-40 minutes, or until the brinjals are tender.




Makes about 20

250ml couscous

250ml hot vegetable stock

400g tin of chickpeas, drained

2 large eggs

300g broccoli

100g feta, crumbled

zest and juice of 1 lemon

salt and pepper

oil, for frying

Place the couscous in a heatproof bowl. Pour over the boiling stock, cover with clingfilm and stand for 10 minutes.

Place the chickpeas and eggs in a food processor and blend to form a puree.

Cook the broccoli in boiling, salted water for 5 minutes. Drain well and chop.

Fluff the couscous with a fork and add the chickpea puree and broccoli. Mix until well combined.

Stir in the crumbled feta and lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Shape into patties, place on a tray and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the patties in batches, about 3-4 minutes a side until golden.

Drain on paper towel and serve warm or cold.



Serves 4

250ml couscous

6 spring onions, thinly sliced

grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

250ml hot water

a pinch of saffron threads

60ml chopped parsley

100g assorted cherry tomatoes, halved

salt and pepper

4 portions of trout fillets

olive oil, for drizzling

1 lemon, sliced

Preheat oven to 200degC.

Place the couscous, spring onions, and lemon zest and juice in a large glass bowl.

Add the saffron to the boiling water and pour over the couscous. Cover tightly with clingfilm and set aside for 10 minutes.

Fluff with a fork and stir in the parsley and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

Tear off four sheets of tinfoil, about 40cm in length. Brush the centre with a little olive oil. Place a quarter of the couscous in the centre of each. Top with a fish fillet.

Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place three slices of lemon on each.

Bring the edges of the foil over to enclose the fish, and seal well. Place the parcels on a baking tray and cook for 15 minutes.

Serve immediately, unopened, for your guests to open.



Serves 6

250ml couscous

4 x 250ml milk

30g butter

5ml cinnamon

2ml nutmeg

1ml allspice

180ml coconut blossom or brown sugar

5ml vanilla extract

1 large carrot, peeled and finely grated

grated zest and juice of 1 orange

125ml cranberries, chopped

In a large pot, whisk together all the ingredients except the cranberries.

Cook on a medium-low heat until the couscous is soft and creamy, stirring often

Remove from the heat and add the cranberries.

Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Sprinkle with pistachio nuts if desired.


The Angela Day cookery column is published in The Star, the Cape Argus, the Daily News and the Pretoria News.

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