I bought some medium sized couscous from the South Melbourne Market and have been experimenting with it. I had found that simply soaking it in boiling water like you do with normal small couscous did not cook it through, so had been doing a combination of soaking and light boiling with fairly good results. However, I do know that in Northern Africa that they steam their couscous for lighter results. I decided to take this approach, and the results were fantastic, it was like eating silken air.
- 3 brown onions sliced
- 1 large garlic clove finely diced
- 500g lamb cut into large pieces
- 5 tbsp tomato puree
- 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 heaped tsp turmeric
- Pinch of saffron
- Salt to taste
- 1 large kumara (sweet potato)
- 2 carrots
- 2 medium aubergines (eggplant)
- 2 cups of medium couscous
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Cut up the onions and garlic and cook with a little olive oil in a heavy based pot that you also have a steamer for. Cook over a medium heat until soft but not coloured, then remove.
- Add a little more oil, turn the heat to high and quickly brown the meat in batches, then remove.
- Wipe out the pan and dry, turn the heat down and dry fry the turmeric and cayenne pepper for 1 minute and add back in the onions and lamb along with the tomato puree. Turn through and add enough water to cover everything. Bring up the water to a simmer and add the saffron.
- Separately boil some water in a jug and pore over the medium couscous, cover and leave to sit for 30 minutes.
- Cut the aubergine into rings, 1.5cm thick, brush with olive oil and sprinkle over with salt. Heat a heavy saucepan or griddle over a high heat and dry fry the aubergine in batches, turning once there is a light char. Cut the aubergine rings in half and set to one side.
- Peal and cut the kumara and carrot into chunks and add to the tagine.
- Drain the couscous and place into the steamer and place on top of the tagine for 15 minutes.
- Put the butter and cinnamon in the bottom of a large bowl, then turn out the couscous and stir through, fluffing up with a fork.
- Add the aubergine to the tagine, stir through, taste and season.
- Return the couscous to the steamer and place on the tagine for a further 15 minutes.
- Take the steamer off, tip the couscous back into the bowl and fluff up again.
- Serve with a base of couscous and the tagine over the top.