Saffron Couscous with Cranberries and Almonds

Saffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (1 of 14)

COUSCOUS | A versatile and popular alternative to rice and pasta

Couscous. A staple in North Africa, not many know how versatile these small steamed balls of semolina can be. Consisting of many tiny granules made from steamed and dried durum wheat, couscous has become a popular alternative to rice and pasta.

In Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, couscous is steamed over a simmered stew after being tossed with a little water or oil and water. This takes much longer than the ‘instant’ method, whereby couscous is boiled in water or stock for 5 minutes and then steamed for another 5 minutes before being “fluffed up” with a fork.

For myself, the beauty of couscous lies with its cross functional applicability between a pilaf and a salad. For this simple recipe, I have added a pinch of saffron to add a bit of colour and delicate taste. For some tangy sweetness I added some cranberries and for the crunch factor, some crushed roasted almonds. Feel free to throw in some pine nuts too!

Saffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (2 of 14).jpgSaffron couscous with cranberries and almonds

TOTAL TIME: 20 minutes | SERVES: 4 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 chopped shallot
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 cup of wholemeal couscous (or plain)
  • 1.5 cups of water (if using wholemeal)
  • pinch of salt and black pepper, to taste
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oilSaffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (12 of 14)

METHOD:

1. Soak saffron threads in half cup of boiling water to release the flavours. Remember, a little pinch of saffron goes a long way.

Saffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (10 of 14)

2. In the meantime, chop the shallots.

Saffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (11 of 14)

3. Roast the almonds on medium-high heat by stirring gently on a pan (about 1-2 minutes). Once roasted, crush with mortar and pestle. Saffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (13 of 14)Saffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (7 of 14)

4. Pour tablespoon of olive oil into a saucepan on medium-high heat. Throw in shallots and stir for one minute.Saffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (9 of 14)

5. Add the remaining cup of water. Once boiling, throw in the couscous, add a pinch of salt and pepper and let it cook for 5 minutes before closing the lid. Let it rest for another 5 minutes.Saffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (8 of 14)

6. Juice the lemon and remove the pips.Saffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (6 of 14)

7. Once couscous is done, remove the lid from the saucepan and pour in the lemon juice, cranberries, and crushed almonds. Fluff with fork until fluffy in texture.Saffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (5 of 14)

8. Serve while warm. Feel free to sprinkle some pine nuts an additional cranberries on top for garnishing.Saffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (4 of 14)

 

Advertisements

Citrus-baked Mackerel with Couscous

Citrus baked mackerel with couscous (1 of 1)-2

Also known as maccarello in Italian, mackerel is one of the highly recommended oily fish for a healthy diet. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, this fish helps lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Mackerel also contains anti-inflammatory compound which helps lower joint pain and stiffness in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

Wheat’s more, consuming mackerel on a regular basis is great for those who are prone to depression or suffer from frequent bouts of mood swings. Research has also proven that people consuming high dosages of omega-3 fatty acids are at lower risk of getting affected by depression. Mackerel is loaded with DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and consuming this fish lowers your chances of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease.

Rather than just pan-frying mackerel with salt and pepper, it doesn’t take that much more time to add a citrus twang to this popular fish. With the juice and zest of an orange plus some ground coriander, cumin and crushed ginger, you can now be serving mackerel with a new moroccan twist.

INGREDIENTS:

(Serves 2)

For the fish:

  • 2 mackerel fillets
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
  • Zest of 1/2 orange
  • Pinch of freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin

For the couscous:

  • 2/3 cup couscous
  • 1 cup vegetable stock or water
  •  1/3 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Citrus baked mackerel with couscous (6 of 17)

METHOD:

1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius and line a roasting tray with parchment paper.

2) For the fish, make a paste by grating the zest of 1/2 orange along with the cumin, coriander, oil, ginger and some salt. Make 3 slashes on the mackerel fillet and rub the paste all over.

Citrus baked mackerel with couscous (1 of 17)

Citrus baked mackerel with couscous (4 of 17) Citrus baked mackerel with couscous (3 of 17)    3) Pour the fresh orange juice over the fish and bake for 12-15 minutes until the fish is cooked.

Citrus baked mackerel with couscous (5 of 17)

4) Meanwhile, cook the couscous. Put the couscous in a bowl and in a separate pot, heat the stock or water until it boils. Pour the hot liquid over the couscous, close the lid and set aside for 6 minutes till all the liquid gets absorbed. Fluff up the grains with a fork and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Feel free to grate some orange zest and throw in some raisins.

Citrus baked mackerel with couscous (10 of 17)

Citrus baked mackerel with couscous (11 of 17)

5) Make a bed of couscous and place a mackerel fillet onto each plate, spooning over the pan juices to serve.

Citrus baked mackerel with couscous (1 of 3)

Citrus baked mackerel with couscous (3 of 3)