Spiced Couscous with Dry Fruits and Nuts

Traveling around the world has enriched our gastronomic experience.  It is always exciting to come home and experience a wave of culinary inspirations stemming from sampling local cuisine and regional fusion foods.

couscous3

The recipe for this month is inspired by a tasty couscous fusion dish from Chitra’s recent trip to Brazil. The Belmond Hotel Das Cataratas located by the magnificent Iguazu falls serves amazing caipirinhas and an extensive buffet with a variety of salads, local and international fusion dishes and authentic Brazilian desserts. The banquet had a surprising number of vegetarian options and the dry fruit couscous with onion and cilantro flavors topped the list of favorites.

couscous2

We tried a variation of this couscous dish that has the distinct aroma of Hungarian Paprika and Indian spices and delicious flavor of dry fruits and nuts. We love the practicality of this recipe, so quick and easy to make and can be served warm or cold.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 ½ cups couscous
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ cup purple onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 green chili (slit and cut in half)
  • 1 inch ginger (finely chopped)
  • 1 ¼ tsp Hungarian paprika (scharf-hot-picante)
  • 1 ¼ tsp ground cumin couscous1
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ½  tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼  tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp ghee or olive oil
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp chopped apricots
  • 1 tbsp chopped almonds
  • 1 tbsp chopped cashews
  • 1 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Heat ½ tbsp olive oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ginger, green chilies and half cup chopped onions and sauté for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in the paprika, cumin, cardamom, coriander, cloves and cook for 1 minute. Add water and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in couscous and remove the pan from the heat. Cover the pan with a lid and let it stand for 5 minutes until the couscous has absorbed all the liquid. Fluff couscous with a fork. Add chopped fresh mint.

Heat ½ tsp ghee or oil in a pan and add chopped almonds, cashews, walnuts, raisins and apricots and stir until golden brown. Add the nuts mixture to the bowl of couscous and toss well.

Heat ½ tbsp oil and add ¼ cup onions and sauté until golden brown and add to the couscous bowl.

Serve warm or at room temperature or cold.

Note:

  • We used Moroccan couscous for our recipe but pearl couscous can be used as well.
  • Substitute Hungarian paprika with any ground/fresh paprika.
  • Substitute all of ground cumin, coriander, cardamom and cloves with 1tsp of garam masala or curry powder.
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