Vegetarian Couscous with Ras el Hanout
There is nothing in the world like Ras el Hanout. Well- actually there is. If you happen to be in India, curry for example. Because as you may know, it is an elaborate mix of spices... in fact, the name itself means, translated from the Moroccan- "Owners Blend", as each spice merchant makes his own version- but almost all are heady and aromatic culinary masterpieces.
And together with a few simple vegetables that I had left-over in my fridge and a little couscous, it was just a teaspoon of this wonderful spice mix that transformed them into an oriental feast for my supper!
Light, delicate, aromatic and spicy- isn't that just the perfect blend for a satisfying and healthy meal? Oh yes, yes, yes! This is what I want- and I am pretty sure that you do too!
All it took to make one good pan full of great food, was 1 zucchini, 1 pepper, 1 shallot, 1 handful of sugarsnap peas, fresh parsley and cilantro, 1 tablespoon of barberries and 1 teaspoon of Ras el Hanout... and 1 cupful of couscous.
The prep-work here is just common sense really... simply cut up the vegetables into bite-sized pieces, slice the shallot up rather finely- and get ready to toss them into a frying pan!
Here you can see the mix of spices that made up my Ras el Hanout mix... ginger, cardamon, mace, cinnamon, allspice, coriander seeds, nutmeg, turmeric, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, anise seeds, cloves and rose petals.... amazing!
Grind up the spices as finely as possible using a mortar and pestle- or of course a machine if you wish... and if you are making a larger quantity that one teaspoon, haha! Otherwise- this is the way to go! :-)
Simply sautée the ingredients, together with the spices, in a little sesame oil, for 2-3 minutes, until the shallot softens and becomes transparent and the zucchini begin to soften and turn slightly brown at the edges.
At this point, turn off the heat and add the couscous directly into the frying pan...
Carefully stir-in the couscous until it is evenly spread out and coats all of the vegetables and soaks up their flavors and juices...
Then deglaze the pan with just enough boiling water to cover the base, add the juice of half a lime and a touch more sesame oil and sprinkle with finely chopped parsley and cilantro.
Stir everything through carefully and then put the lid on the frying pan and allow to stand for 10-15 minutes.
15 minutes later, the couscous is light and fluffy and filled with the aromatic flavor of the spice and vegetables, the tangy citrus and the fruity barberries... and that's what I call Moroccan Roll!
Looks good enough to eat!