Tuesday, April 8, 2008

couscous with peas, mint and cilantro

couscous with peas, mint and cilantro

While the beer-braised lamb was nothing to get excited about, the couscous I made to complement the dish – was. I’ll be as brief about it as the time it takes to cook the whole thing. It was exactly what I was looking for in a spring dish – the peas sweetened the couscous, while the mint and cilantro added freshness and the promise that this rain and cold are not permanent elements of the season, but rather fleeting ones. That the sunshine and the warmth I was longing for, are just around the corner. I’m still waiting.

peas

This side was wonderfully easy to make and will have to be made again soon – I couldn’t get enough of it! If you’re planning a last minute dinner party and are looking for something fantastic yet simple, this is something to consider. If you plan ahead (something I’ve not been able to do lately given work’s insanity) you can even use fresh peas, which undoubtedly would make this couscous even better!

couscous, uncooked

And of course, if you happen to dislike either mint or cilantro, there’s no reason not to try other herbs in their place. How about dill or parsley? Maybe some chives and cucumbers instead? If none of those options appeal to you, try adding some lemon zest to your couscous and watch it come alive!


For the couscous:
1 cup couscous
1 1/4 cup water
1 tsp olive oil
a pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups frozen peas cooked according to the package instructions
3 tsp mint
3 tsp cilantro

For the yogurt dip:
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp cilantro
1 tsp mint
salt/pepper to taste

Heat water, oil and salt in the pot until boiling and stir in couscous and peas. Let stand for 5 minutes until the water absorbs into couscous completely. Stir in mint and cilantro.

While the water is absorbing into couscous, mix cilantro and mint in yogurt and season with salt and pepper.

Serve couscous with the yogurt mix, alongside the lamb (if you so desire), or on its own, or as a complement to another dish you have made. The couscous tastes just as great the following day, however, watch out for mint – the leaves brown quickly.

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