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Monday, March 16, 2009

When Couscous Meets Ginkgo

If you are in Asian country and bored with the routine of consuming rice, try couscous! The staple of North African cuisine and the national dish of the countries of Maghrib (Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia), couscous is granular semolina, the term for the more coarsely ground than normal wheat flour, a result that is obtained by sifting out the finer flour.

Similar to rice, pasta or bread, couscous is a highly nutritive product made from wheat or other cereals with the capacity for long term preservation. In Asian countries, dried couscous comes in nice packages and is mostly found in supermarkets. Light yellow in color and aethetically appealing, this nutritious grain simply needs basic cooking. It can be served for everyday meal or a luxury feast, a main course or dessert, and go well with vegetables, legumes, meat, fish, or even merely butter or fresh fruits.

The part I love most about it is the short cooking time. It is suitable for what I call "practical meals just in time to catch my favourite TV shows". Try and see whether you like it...

Serves 2 persons

- Couscous > 200 grams
- Water > 325 grams – 390 ml
- Carrot – dice > 80 grams
- Potato – dice > 50 grams
- Fresh ginkgo nuts > 30 grams
- Black raisins > 30 grams
- Butter > 40 grams
- Dill/Laos coriander leaves – chop > 1 stock
- Sweet Thai basil – pluck leaves from stalk > 2 stalks
- Fish sauce > teaspoons
- Sugar > 1 teaspoon

sweet thai basil

- Cook water, carrot, potato, ginkgo nuts, raisins, and sugar in a pan until boiled.
- Remove pan from heat. Add couscous, stir to mix and cover pan for 10 minutes.
- Open cover. Couscous grains now have grown almost tripled.
- Bring pan back to heat, add butter and fish sauce. Stir until butter is completely dissolved. Remove from fire. Add sweet Thai basil leaves.
- Place on a serving plate. Sprinkle with chopped dill leaves.
- Serve.

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