Jul 8, 2009

Couscous Royale


I’ve been getting a lot of email lately from people wanting to know what side-dish they should serve with my Moroccan Kefta. Well, I can’t tell you what to do, but I can show you how I like to serve it; with a simple all-in-one Couscous Royale.

This is an easy but abundant couscous dish that’s been a hit around here ever since I first introduced it. Especially when you eat it with a (small) variety of meat and poultry dishes, such as my Sweet Pork StripsCrijo Jo or Chicken Curry Masala . It’s chockful of flavor, vegetables and relatively low on fat, making it quite a healthy recipe, too. Not to mention it’s a color bomb.

You can tweak it to your hearts content. The meat and/or chicken dishes we eat with this often contain more than enough sauce, so I keep this basic. Feel free to add some stir-fry sauce, though, and just play with the ingredients as much as you like. Fennel, eggplant, green beans, broccoli… literally anything goes.



2 cups couscous
3 cups vegetable broth
1 medium onion
1 zucchini
1 large carrot
1 red bell pepper
1 cup white cabbage
1/2 a cup peas
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 ripe tomatoes
flat-leaf parsley



Life can be so unfair. While I’m slaving over a hot stove, these two are having a blast. Just wait ’til I burst their bubble!


The happy lot. Lots of different variations are possible!


I’m using frozen peas and pre-sliced cabbage for this. Oh c’mon, cut me some slack, will you… it was pretty darn hot here in the Netherlands when I shot this!


Wash and thinly slice a red bell pepper. Or a green one. Or a yellow one.


Peel a large carrot, cut it in half and slice it. Don’t make the slices too thin, though.


Give your onion the same treatment.


Wash and cube your zucchini. Leave the skin on; it contains lots of beta-carotene.


Finely chop the tomatoes. I never bother taking the skin off.


My peas were still frozen, so I gave them a quick hot water bath and drained them.


The couscous. I’m using the entire package, that’s 2 cups. Dump them in a big heat-proof bowl.


Fix yourself 3 cups of boiling vegetable broth. You can do this with chicken broth as well, I just prefer to keep this dish vegetarian in case someone shows up who doesn’t eat meat.


Break out the curry powder and garam masala. Yes, I buy this stuff in bulk, I’m a genuine spice-o-holic (my spice cabinets contain over 100 different spices). You could also add a hint of ginger and ground cumin if you like.


Pour 2 tbsp high-heat cooking oil in a stir-fry pan. I’m using arachide oil (peanut oil) for this.


While the pan is getting sizzling hot, we’ll prepare the couscous. Pour 2 cups of vegetable broth in with the couscous. You’ll want to have at least 1/2 an inch of liquid on top of the couscous, but no more than 1 inch. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it be.


We’re gonna be stir-frying now, that means cooking over really, really high heat! I’ll give you the timeline.


Stir-fry your carrots for 2 minutes.


Add the bell pepper strips and cook for 1 more minute.


In with the zucchini and onion. Stir-fry for 2 more minutes.


Keep those veggies moving!


Add the cabbage and peas. Cook for 2 more minutes.


I’m going for a heaping 1/4 tsp curry powder and 1/2 a tsp garam masala, but use as much or as little as you want.


The spices really come to life when you cook them for 30 seconds.


Put the tomatoes in there, pour in 2/3 cup vegetable broth and season with salt and lotsa black pepper. Simmer over high heat for about 3 to 5 minutes or a bit longer. Just keep tasting. Keep a good bite to the vegetables, though.


Those few minutes will give you plenty of time to finely chop a really good handful of flat-leaf parsley.


Stir the couscous until it’s fluffy and add a few drops of oil (or butter), about a tbsp or so.


Squeeze in lots and lots of fresh lemon juice. You can squeeze the lemon through your fingers so the pits will fall into your hand. Add the parsley and give everything a good stir.


Transfer the couscous to a really big plate and top with the vegetables. Pour the fragrant cooking liquid all over. This is such a gorgeous, simple and copious dish!



* This easily serves 4 to 6 people

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    1. 1

      Try the Israili couscous..We love it, it is larger and a great substitute for rice, and it cooks a lot faster.

      suzanne on Jul 8, 2009 @ 10:06 am Reply
    2. 2


      Will see if I can buy that here. Love to try new things. Is the flavor different?

      Kay on Jul 8, 2009 @ 10:08 am Reply
    3. 3

      If you send your address in the Netherlands, I will send you some.
      The texture is more like a pasta,sort of like the very small italian pasta,
      acine pepi(not sure of spelling) It looks like large pearl tapioca. I just cook it with chicken broth in the microwave, and it is done in 5 minutes. It takes on the flavors of broth and the foods cooked with it.

      suzanne on Jul 8, 2009 @ 12:44 pm Reply
    4. 4


      I just googled it and I think they’re selling it here, too! This one is done in 5 minutes, too, though! That’s what I love about couscous.

      Kay on Jul 8, 2009 @ 12:46 pm Reply
    5. 5

      Here is more of an explanation:

      suzanne on Jul 8, 2009 @ 12:47 pm Reply
    6. 6

      Delicious veggie couscous! looks fabulous! love your step by step instructions!

      Parita on Jul 8, 2009 @ 2:52 pm Reply
    7. 7

      Yum. Looks delicious, nutritious and colorful. I made something similar a couple weeks ago, and in addition to the veggies and herbs, I added some kidney beans (for their protein since I made it w/o meat). It’s great. You can eat it cold or at room temp. Thanks for sharing the recipe!


      Hanaa on Jul 8, 2009 @ 4:10 pm Reply
    8. 8

      This will make a great low-carb side dish without the couscous as well! Looks wonderful :)

      Debbie on Jul 8, 2009 @ 4:20 pm Reply
    9. 9

      What a yummy and healthy dish! I love all the beautiful bright colors. I would probably add some chunks of chicken since we’re total meat-lovers at our house and I LOVE the flavor or curry chicken. What a great 1 dish meal for the summer!

      Cookie on Jul 9, 2009 @ 12:25 am Reply
    10. 10

      Love couscous! Will try this soon as I just stocked up on couscous that I buy bulk.

      My family is living in a camper in a hayfield this summer 450 miles from home. They are eating alot of couscous as its easy to fix with lots of veggies.

      Kath on Jul 9, 2009 @ 6:12 am Reply
    11. 11

      Where do you buy your Garam Masala?

      Sonya on Jul 9, 2009 @ 7:20 am Reply
    12. 12


      You can buy masalas on every corner of the street in the Netherlands. Chinese toko’s, Moroccan or Indian stores. Farmer’s market and even some supermarkets carry it.

      Kay on Jul 9, 2009 @ 7:23 am Reply
    13. 13

      I will try my local Toko..seriously aren’t Toko’s the neatest thing ever? lol you can get a little piece of all sorts of foods from all over the world in those stores. Thanks for the tips on where to find it:)

      Sonya on Jul 9, 2009 @ 11:05 am Reply
    14. 14


      When I need something special, that’s where I go first. They have everything there, from cream of tartar, to Crisco, Badia, Indonesian and Suriname spices. Everything.

      Kay on Jul 9, 2009 @ 2:22 pm Reply
    15. 15

      Found Israili couscous on Amazon.com, they have a lot of unusual items
      gourmet foods etc…Whole Food markets carries Israili couscous in bulk too.

      sue on Jul 9, 2009 @ 4:05 pm Reply
    16. 16

      hey, this isn’t a comment in regard to your recipe (gorgeous though it may be), I was reading cakewrecks the other day and they had this: http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2009/07/christmas-in-july-going-dutch.html
      what’s your take on it? sorry you’re the only dutch person I “know” so by default you’re the one I ask.

      Joy on Jul 10, 2009 @ 4:45 am Reply
    17. 17


      This cracked me up :) Sinterklaas is an ancient children’s holiday here (I think the American Santa Claus is derived from this one), but we don’t have the zwarte piet cakes or anything. Cakes, and especially these type of cakes, are really not a part of the celebration. They also forgot to mention they’re cheap and poorly executed supermarket cakes.

      Here’s a little more about it. http://www.thehollandring.com/sinterklaas.shtml

      Kay on Jul 10, 2009 @ 7:33 am Reply
    18. 18

      Great colours in that couscous!

      Kevin on Jul 11, 2009 @ 8:45 pm Reply
    19. 19

      I shred the carrots and zucchini, and I put in a handful of raisins in the hot broth to soak before putting them in with the vegetables and I chop up a few mint leaves with the parsley.

      Mari on Jul 12, 2009 @ 11:09 am Reply
    20. 20


      Completely forgot to add that. I’ll often add a good handful of yellow raisins as well. The big ones.

      Kay on Jul 12, 2009 @ 11:13 am Reply
    21. 21

      I made this today and it was scrumptious! My boyfriend had thirds! It was very easy to make, well within budget and made the house smell yummy. I can’t wait to try your other recipes.

      Irina on Sep 20, 2009 @ 12:46 am Reply
    22. 22

      This looks fantastic! We’re just “discovering” Middle Eastern foods in my household, and I love Garam Masala. Looking forward to trying this dish soon!

      Julia on Oct 2, 2009 @ 3:04 pm Reply
    23. 23

      haha I love how you store your spices, because that’s exactly the way I do it aswell!! I so had to laugh when I saw your picture above, I always buy spices in bulk when I’m on vacation somewhere like Tunisia or Turkey… I just LOVE the markets there with all the spices they offer, I could simply spent my entire money there lol!! :)

      Aleks on Jan 13, 2010 @ 9:50 am Reply

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