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 Strips, Crijo 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 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
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