Harissa and ras-el-hanout flavoured couscous with chickpea and greens served with assorted veggie fritters and harissa and garlic yoghurt dip

A melange of flavours and textures, this dish is an absolute treat for the senses. A harmonious balance of spicy and soothing, crunchy and creamy, sharp and sweet, every bite is as exciting as the first.

Portions:

Serves two generously on its own. Perfect for 3-4 if served as a side with proteins such as lamb chops, kebabs, chicken thighs and drumsticks.

Effort:

Very simple and quick. A great mid week recipe to reach for on a busy/ lazy weeknight.

Ingredients:

For Harissa and ras-el-hanout flavoured couscous with chickpea and veggies:

100 grams of canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

80 grams of carrots, diced

100 grams of green beans, chopped finely; you could use peas, spinach, asparagus or any other vegetable of your choice instead

1/2 tsp of olive oil to sauté the veggies

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100 grams of whole wheat couscous

150 grams of water

1/2 tsp of salt

2 tbsp of finely diced white onions

1 salad tomato, finely diced

1/2 tsp of finely chopped mint or parsley

1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds; alternatively use 20 grams of raisins or sultana (optional)

1-2 tbsp of toasted nuts of your choice (optional); I absolutely love pinenuts, almonds, groundnuts and cashewnuts here

For the dressing:

1/ 2 tsp of ras-el-hanout

1/2 tsp of harissa paste

1 tsp of olive oil

1/2 tsp of lemon juice

For the assorted veggie fritters:

Here, I am listing the vegetables I used for this dish. Please feel free to use any vegetable you have on hand; peppers (pierce them if you fry them whole), slices of aubergine, asparagus, thin slices of pumpkin, slices of zucchini are excellent choices.

100 grams of okra, top removed and halved lengthwise

100 grams of cauliflower florets

8-10 baby spinach leaves, left whole

3 tbsp of all purpose flour

3 tbsp of rice flour; alternatively replace with all purpose flour and add the smallest pinch of baking soda

1/4 tsp of salt

4 tbsp +2 tsp of cold water

Vegetable/ canola/ groundnut oil for deep frying

For the Harissa and garlic dip:

6  tbsp of Greek yoghurt; alternatively, you could use mayonnaise as well

1/4 tsp of Harissa paste

1 clove of garlic, grated; for a milder taste, use 1/2 tsp of garlic powder instead

1/2 tsp of lemon juice

A pinch of salt

1/4 tsp of paprika powder

Method:

For Harissa and ras-el-hanout flavoured couscous with chickpea and veggies:

Place a wide pan on high heat and add 1/2 tsp of oil.

Place a deep pot with the water and bring to a boil.

When the oil is hot, add the chick peas, diced beans and carrots, reduce the heat to medium and saute for 5 minutes.

Add the couscous and the salt to the boiling water, reduce the temperature to medium-low, stir gently to combine and let it cook with the lid on until all of the water is absorbed. Keep an eye on the couscous as it cooks really quickly and and stir gently every so often.

Once the couscous is cooked, turn the heat off.

Now, add the sauteed vegetables into the warm pot with the couscous. Also, add in the onions, tomatoes, pomegranate/sultana, the toasted nuts (if using) and the herbs and place the lid back on.

Now, in a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients recommended for the dressing.

Add it to the couscous and mix gently yet thoroughly to combine well.

Place the lid back on the pot and set aside until ready to eat.

For the Harissa and garlic dip:

In a bowl, add all of the ingredients recommended for the dip.

Mix to combine well and set aside in the fridge until ready to eat.

For the assorted veggie fritters:

Place a dry, slightly deep pan on high and add enough oil to deep fry. Because I generally fry my fritters in batches using a pan that is not too wide, I find that 1 to 1.25 cups of vegetable oil work perfectly.

In a bowl, mix the flour and the salt and add in the water.

Give it a thorough mix to make a uniform batter.

Once the oil is hot (drop the tiniest drop of batter into the oil and if it sizzles and fries instantly and floats in seconds, the oil is sufficiently hot), place pieces of vegetables into the batter to coat lightly and evenly on all sides and drop carefully into the oil in a single layer without crowding the pan.

Now reduce the temperature to medium and fry the veggies for about 4 minutes on each side until crispy golden.

Once fried, place them on paper towels for a minute to absorb the excess oil and then transfer onto a cooling rack to keep them nice and crispy.

Serve immediately on individual plates or in big serving bowls/trays buffet style and enjoy!!

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