As someone who loves a good meal, cooking one, came to me as a natural passion. I belong to a family where meal times consisted of not just food, but also noisy conversation centered around the events of the day and discussing the menu for the next. (ah yes, we are a greedy lot! )

For the most part of my life so far, my contribution in the kitchen was assisting mom and my duties were limited, to chopping veggies and laying the table. Then along came the great Indian wedding, and I was suddenly the queen of my very own kingdom. My curiosity about this magical world, coupled with an enthusiastic sous-chef (my husband, Vineet), led me to take on the challenge of preparing meals on a daily basis, and not succumbing to the convenience of hiring a cook.

This blog is a product of my experiments with food (not all are life threatening :D) for my fellow culinary enthusiasts - especially the newly weds and hungry bachelors and is dedicated to the women who've inspired me in the kitchen;
Aji (s),Ma and Nigella Lawson.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fred's Couscous Salad

Although I love it,Vineet isn't the biggest fan of Couscous. So when I tried this salad that Fred, a friend from work, made for a potluck birthday party recently, I knew it was going to be something that would convert my Couscous-shy husband... reason being, it had all of his other favourites, olives, feta and sundried tomatoes :)

Couscous is made from Semolina (rava/ sooji) that is used widely in middle-eatern cuisine. It is soaked in hot water till it swells and becomes fluffy. Eaten as a side, much like rice or pasta, along with curried meat or vegetables, it has a soft grainy texture that readily absorbs flavoursand is yummy when used in Salads.

Couscous is among the healthiest of grain-based products. It has more fiber, vitamins and protein  than pasta and rice and has is excellent for a low-cal diet.See this link for more detailed health benefits of Couscous.

- 200 g / or 1 cup Couscous
- 1-1/2 cups HOT water (not boiling)
- 4-5 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- 5-6 tbsp Extra-virgin Olive oil
- 1 cup french Beans, chopped into 1-1/2" long pieces
- 1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted & sliced
- 3/4 cup Feta cheese, crumbled into biggish chunks
- 8-10 strips of Sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh Parsley

1.) Place the Couscous in a bowl. Mix the Balsamic vinegar and Olive oil with the hot  water and pour over the couscous. Give it a quick stir and cover with a lid tightly. Set aside for 7-10 mins. The Couscous absorbs the liquid and fluffs up.

2.) While the couscous cooks, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook for about 2 mins. Remove the beans from the hot water and immediately transfer them into a bowl of chilled / iced water, to prevent them from over cooking.

3.) Fluff the couscous with a fork and ensure there is no water remaining. Add the beans, olives and sundried tomatoes and toss gently. Tumble in the Feta and chopped Parsley and toss again. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for about 10-15 mins.

Drizzle a little more Balsamic and adjust salt levels as per your preference.

Eat up!

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