Couscous with Curried Vegetables

It is getting SO hot in Pondicherry…almost unbearable! It just gets so uncomfortable even at 8 in the morning. Soon I will have to stop counting the number of times I have to take a shower to wash the sweat off and to cool down the body temperature. As ridiculous and uncomfortable as it sounds- at least I feel good about  being green by not using the air conditioner 24/7.

I have been thinking of doing a couscous recipe for a while now, but just got distracted exploring other variety of healthier options (like cracked wheat, barley, qinoa etc.). After flirting with various ideas of  what kind of sauce do I want to put over the couscous, I came up with this coconut milk based sauce because I didn’t want to make anything that was tomato based. This sauce is so delicate and pairs so well with the couscous. Whats better? its vegan!

I flavored the coconut milk with a mild curry powder and a little bit of sesame seed paste. I made the curry powder at home, as I dont like the kind that is sold in the stores. I always find the store bought curry powder to be very strong in mustard powder and garam masala which almost makes it bitter. Since I didn’t want to overpower the delicate flavor of the fresh coconut milk, I used a milder version of the curry powder.

The turmeric in it gave the curry sauce a beautiful pale yellow color.

I didnt use any garam masala  in the curry powder, so to give the curry sauce some heat and a little kick, I added a paste of some fresh red chilies with garlic. You can skip the chilies if you don’t like any kind of heat whatsoever, but I feel it gives the sauce a little character.

I added some raisins in the couscous because I like the flavor of a little sweet in my recipes, but again feel free to skip it if you don’t care about it too much. I originally wanted to add it to the curried vegetables, but I though it would be easier for Bankim (my husband) to pick it out of the couscous if he didn’t like it (which he didn’t).

Use canned coconut milk of you cant get a hold of the whole coconut to make the fresh coconut milk- but as mentioned in my earlier posts…the flavor of coconut is going to be a lot more intense with the packaged variety! But even that should be okay if you don’t mind the flavor of coconut. I know some people just love it!

Serves 2 to 3

cooking time 30 min

Things you will need:

1 cup uncooked plain couscous

3 cups fresh coconut milk

1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans

1 medium size zucchini, diced

1 medium size carrot, diced

1 medium onion, sliced

1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips

few baby corn, roughly cut

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

2 tbs olive oil

3 cloves garlic and 2 fresh red chilies, make a paste in mortar and pestle

2 tbs sesame seed paste

2 tbs tomato paste

1 tbs curry powder- equal parts of  ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, mustard powder

salt

1/4 cup water

In a deep saucepan on medium heat, add all the vegetables and oil at once and stir fry everything for about 5 min. Add salt and curry powder & cook for another 30 seconds. Add the garlic and chili paste and mix well. Add sesame and tomato paste along with garbanzo beans and cook on low for about a minute or two- till everything is combined well. Add the water and parsley, cover and cook on low for 5 minutes or till the veggies are cooked through. Add the coconut milk last and turn the heat off as soon as you see small bubbles. You don’t want to boil the coconut milk or cook your veggies in it- otherwise the milk will curdle up and will look gross and unappetizing.

Make couscous as directed on the package…I always add some kind of seasoning to it along with some olive oil and salt- this time I did dried parsley and raisins, feel free to pick you favorite seasoning. I bet some dried mint will taste good.