Thursday, June 11, 2009

BB: Curried (Not Really) Couscous

Couscous is a simple, versatile grain that can stand on its own or play a supporting role. It often makes an appearance on my dinner table so I was pleased that Ellyn of Recipe Collector and Tester selected this dish as the first June recipe for Barefoot Bloggers. The part of this selection I wasn't so keen on was the curried part of the recipe. One of the great challenges of cooking along with a group is dealing with ingredients that don't please ones palate. In this case, I took a bit of liberty, scratch that, a lot of liberty and substituted zatar seasoning comprised of sumac, dried wild thyme and sesame seeds. Pine nuts seem to be a natural pairing to zatar and from there I changed the focus of the dish away from curry. Regardless of these substitution this was an excellent choice for the first month of summer. The fundamentals of the recipe are strong and very, very good. The yogurt element was tangy and is something I will integrate in my couscous recipes. Enjoy!

Curried Couscous
Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
6 Servings
1 1/2 cups couscous
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (omitted)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar (used lemon juice)
1 teaspoon curry powder (substituted with zatar seasoning)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric (omitted)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup small-diced carrots (omitted)
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley (used only 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins (substituted pan sauteed tomatoes)
1/4 cup blanched, sliced almonds (substituted toasted pine nuts)
2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts) (omitted)
1/4 cup small-diced red onion (substituted shallots)

Place the couscous in a medium bowl. Melt the butter in the boiling water and pour over the couscous. Cover tightly and allow the couscous to soak for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, curry, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Pour over the fluffed couscous, and mix well with a fork. Add the carrots, parsley, currants, almonds, scallions, and red onions, mix well, and season to taste. Serve at room temperature.


Suzie said...

I went with the curry, but the proportions are set so you don't really wind up with a curry flavour, just a bit of background heat (or maybe my curry powder is just particularly mild??). Your version sounds great - I also love pine nuts with couscous.

Penny said...

The curry was not strong in this. More of a coloring than flavor, but if you don't like curry i am sure your idea is great.

karen said...

this is the perfect recipe to mess around with. i love your changes and it looks great. the curry wasn't that strong for me and i don't even like it that much.

Leslie said...

I bet this was awesome with zaatar! I can't wait to try it next time!

Tonya @ What's On My Plate said...

your substitutions sound interesting. i'll have to check out zatar.

BMK said...

Your version sounds great. I love the idea of the pine nuts. I just made the recipe this weekend. I didn't think the curry was overpowering, just added a hint of flavor.

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