couscous with vegetables

February 21st, 2007

Couscous is a marvelous dish when prepared properly. I don’t mean the kind of couscous you make by soaking it in hot water for ten minutes. I mean the kind of couscous you steam forever, smother in butter, steam forever again, etc. OK, I admit, this type of couscous comes in a box too. (Most of us don’t have the time to painstakingly prepare the tiny pasta from scratch.) But when served with traditionally cooked vegetables and meat, couscous is a pleasure to eat—deeply satisfying and soulful.

Traditionally, couscocus is served on Tuesdays, laundry day in certain North African communities. While waiting for their laundry to dry, North African women would prepare the pasta and dry it in the sun. Thus laundry day became a social event, an opportunity to get together with friends and neighbors to gossip and exchange recipes.

The Tuesday couscous tradition persists in Israel at North African mom and pop eateries. Traditionally, couscous is served with a soup of vegetables and meat, eather chicken or beef. The types of vegetables and the spices used vary depending on the regional extraction of the cook.

The couscous joint I frequented in Israel was run by a family of Tripolitan extraction. Their couscous included carrots, potatoes, turnips, and zucchini, as well as chicken. Effie, the owner, always had a full house on Tuesdays, when all the high tech employees in the neighborhood would converge on his place for a plate of some down home couscous and little complimentary plates of mezze and pita. Effie’s has no menu.

Instead, Effie would greet everyone with a smile and some friendly banter, and proceed to rattle off the specials of the day. He’d then take everyone’s order faster than any waiter I’ve seen before or since, and pass them on to his wife in the kitchen. One of his sons would cover the table with simple sheet of butcher paper, and another son would arrive with plates and cutlery. The first son would return with a basket of fresh, warm pita bread and small mezze plates, including hummus with olive oil, olives, a Tunisian pumpkin spread, and two types of eggplant salad. It was always a challenge to eat all the mezzeh and still have room for couscous.

Couscous veMafroum
(That’s the official name, but everyone calls it Effie’s)
12 Yehezkel Kazaz St.
Or Yehuda, Israel
03-5339252

couscous with vegetables

Here’s my vegetarian version of couscous with vegetables, loosely based on my memories of Effie’s couscous.

for the vegetables:

1 onion, chopped, or 3 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic
3 small carrots, peeled
1 large turnip, peeled
1 large potato, peeled
1 cup garbanzo beans, soaked and cooked
1 bunch chard, spinach, or other greens, washed and coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp whole fenugreek
spice mixture: 1/2 tsp each whole fennel and coriander seeds, 2 tsp whole cumin seeds
(If you don’t have whole spices, use pre-ground. Just spice the vegetables a little more cautiously, reserving any leftover spice mixture for a later use. It is best, however, to use whole spices.)
salt to taste

for the couscous:

250 gr coucous
butter
salt to taste

equipment:

couscousiere, or a medium sized pot with a steamer or sieve
(I used a small pot and a vegetable steamer for the couscous, and a separate pot for the vegetables. Ideally, the couscous should steam above the vegetables to as to absorb their flavors.)

  • Pour the couscous into a large, shallow bowl and soak in 1/2 cup very cold water for 20 minutes.
  • Chop the vegetables into coarse chunks.
  • If using whole spices, place in a clean coffee grinder and grind to a powder.
  • Heat some butter and olive oil in a pot and add in the onions. Season with salt and stir. You don’t want the onions to turn transluscent without browning.
  • Press the garlic cloves into the onions, then add the fenugreek and half the ground spice mixture. Stir to distribute evenly.
  • Add chopped vegetables to pot, along with garbanzo beans, and cover with water.
  • Drain the couscous and rake it with your fingers.
  • Place steamer, sieve, or couscousiere steaming insert above vegetables and place drained couscous in steamer.
  • Bring vegetables to the boil, uncovered.
  • Keep the vegetables on a low simmer and turn the couscous into a bowl.
  • Rake the couscous with your fingers, sprinkle it with 1/4 cup cold water, and season with salt and butter to taste.
  • Let stand, and then steam again over the simmering vegetables.
  • You can repeat the raking-sprinkling-seasoning-sitting process, as recommended on the Ya Rayi site. I was lazy and hungry, so I steamed the couscous twice, rather than three times. It was still delicious.

Serves 3-4

6 Responses to “couscous with vegetables”

  1. tinder dating site Says:

    Simply want to say your article is as astounding.
    The clarity to your submit is just nice and that i can assume you are an expert on this subject.
    Well along with your permission allow me to seize your feed to stay up to date with
    forthcoming post. Thank you a million and please keep up the gratifying work.

  2. suitable financial Says:

    It’s impressive that you are getting ideas from this paragraph as well as
    from our discussion made at this time.

  3. book publishers Says:

    It’s genuinely very difficult in this active life to listen news on Television, so I only use web for that reason, and obtain the newest information.

  4. Randy Says:

    Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful post. Thank you for providing this information.

  5. Cathryn Says:

    I enjoy what you guys are up too. Such clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the very good works guys I’ve included you guys to blogroll.

  6. Felicia Says:

    I as well conceive so, perfectly pent post!

    Also visit my web page :: online trading options (Felicia)

  7. tinder dating site Says:

    Hi Dear, are you in fact visiting this web site on a regular basis, if so afterward
    you will without doubt obtain fastidious experience.

  8. motivation exercises Says:

    Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful article.

    Thank you for supplying this info.

  9. Augusto de Arruda Botelho Says:

    Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the pictures on this blog loading? I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any responses would be greatly appreciated.|

  10. Vernon Says:

    Heya! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 4! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the outstanding work!

  11. Jonah Says:

    Hello, I log on to your blogs like every week. Your
    humoristic style is witty, keep up the good work!

  12. word audio books Says:

    Hello There. I discovered your blog using msn. This is a very well written article.
    I will be sure to bookmark it and return to learn extra of
    your useful information. Thanks for the post.
    I’ll certainly return.

  13. Itamar Serpa Fernandes Says:

    I simply couldn’t leave your website before suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the usual info
    an individual provide on your guests? Is gonna be back frequently to
    inspect new posts

  14. Kali Says:

    Hey there! I’ve been following your web site for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a
    shout out from Huffman Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the fantastic
    work!

    Here is my webpage: buy traffic [Kali]

  15. Reginald Says:

    I don’t unremarkably comment but I gotta tell appreciate it for the post on this one :
    D.

    Have a look at my homepage; credit report,
    Reginald,

  16. Itamar Serpa Fernandes Says:

    If you wish for to grow your experience simply
    keep visiting this web page and be updated with the most up-to-date news posted here.

  17. Itamar Serpa Fernandes Says:

    WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for food

  18. free dating sites no fees Says:

    I have been surfing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found any
    interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me.
    In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made good content
    as you did, the net will be much more useful than ever
    before.

  19. media financial Says:

    It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic,
    however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about!
    Thanks

  20. free dating sites no fees Says:

    Touche. Sound arguments. Keep up the great work.

  21. financial advisors Says:

    excellent submit, very informative. I ponder why the other experts of this sector don’t notice
    this. You should proceed your writing. I am
    sure, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

  22. credit card debt Says:

    Hi, i believe that i saw you visited my weblog so i got here to return the choose?.I’m trying to
    to find issues to enhance my website!I assume its
    good enough to make use of a few of your concepts!!

  23. free dating sites no fees Says:

    Hi to every one, it’s in fact a good for me to pay a quick visit
    this website, it includes helpful Information.

  24. seo plugin Says:

    Hello Web Admin, I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post, also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization. On-Page SEO means more now than ever since the new Google update: Panda. No longer are backlinks and simply pinging or sending out a RSS feed the key to getting Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings, You now NEED On-Page SEO. So what is good On-Page SEO?First your keyword must appear in the title.Then it must appear in the URL.You have to optimize your keyword and make sure that it has a nice keyword density of 3-5% in your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing). Then you should spread all H1,H2,H3 tags in your article.Your Keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence of the page. You should have relevant usage of Bold and italics of your keyword.There should be one internal link to a page on your blog and you should have one image with an alt tag that has your keyword….wait there’s even more Now what if i told you there was a simple WordPress plugin that does all the On-Page SEO, and automatically for you? That’s right AUTOMATICALLY, just watch this 4minute video for more information at. Seo Plugin

  25. totally free dating sites for widows uk Says:

    I am really inspired with your writing skills and also with
    the structure on your blog. Is this a paid subject matter or did you modify it yourself?
    Either way keep up the excellent high quality writing,
    it’s uncommon to peer a nice weblog like this one nowadays..

  26. Georges Sadala Says:

    Wonderful article! This is the type of info that are meant to be shared across the internet.

    Shame on Google for no longer positioning this submit higher!
    Come on over and talk over with my web site . Thank you =)

  27. Cindy Says:

    I am extremely impressed along with your writing abilities and also with the layout on your blog.
    Is that this a paid subject or did you modify it yourself?

    Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s uncommon to
    look a nice weblog like this one nowadays..

  28. social media financial Says:

    I was suggested this blog by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this
    post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem.
    You are amazing! Thanks!

  29. discount poster printing Says:

    This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your fantastic post. Also, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks!

  30. walmart memory foam mattress Says:

    Iím not that much of a online reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later. Cheers

  31. minecraft free Says:

    With havin so much content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright violation? My
    site has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either written myself or outsourced but it appears
    a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my
    permission. Do you know any methods to help reduce content from being stolen? I’d
    certainly appreciate it.

  32. Kathrin Says:

    There’s certainly a great deal to know about this issue.
    I love all the points you’ve made.

  33. Maye Caughran Says:

    Hi There! We are looking for experienced people that are interested in from working their home on a full-time basis. If you want to earn $500 a day, and you don’t mind developing some short opinions up, this is the perfect opportunity for you! Simply click the link here NOW!

  34. minecraft download Says:

    Great post. I will be facing some of these issues as well..

  35. nba live coins reddit Says:

    Good day very nice site!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Wonderful ..
    I’ll bookmark your web site and take the feeds also?
    I’m glad to seek out numerous helpful information right here in the put up, we’d like develop more strategies in this
    regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

    Feel free to surf to my site nba live coins reddit

  36. Jennie Says:

    Greetings! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless I’d figured
    I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging
    links or maybe guest authoring a blog post or vice-versa?
    My blog covers a lot of the same topics as yours and I feel we could greatly
    benefit from each other. If you might be interested feel free to send
    me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you!
    Great blog by the way!

  37. credit card debt Says:

    Hi every one, here every person is sharing these kinds of experience, therefore it’s nice to
    read this blog, and I used to pay a quick visit
    this weblog every day.

  38. Itamar Serpa Fernandes Says:

    I visit each day a few websites and blogs to read articles or reviews, except this
    webpage gives quality based posts.

  39. airport taxi prices Says:

    I would like to express my appreciation to the writer for rescuing me from this trouble. Just after exploring throughout the online world and seeing notions that were not powerful, I thought my entire life was gone. Existing without the strategies to the issues you have resolved by means of your website is a critical case, and the ones that would have in a wrong way affected my entire career if I had not noticed the blog. Your actual capability and kindness in taking care of all the details was very useful. I don’t know what I would have done if I had not come across such a solution like this. I’m able to now look forward to my future. Thanks so much for your specialized and results-oriented guide. I will not think twice to refer your web sites to anybody who would need guide on this subject matter.

  40. Egli Diana Pinto Says:

    After I initially left a comment I appear to
    have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox
    and from now on every time a comment is added I receive 4
    emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is a way you
    can remove me from that service? Many thanks!

  41. mink lash extensions wholesale Says:

    Heya i am for the primary time here. I found this board and I in finding It really useful & it helped me out much.
    I am hoping to offer one thing back and aid others like you helped me.

    Look into my weblog … mink lash extensions wholesale

Leave a Reply

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.
Creative Commons License