Couscous is a new-found love of mine.. I have quite a friends hooked on to it as well.. Biryani is another all-time-favourite.. Was wondering from a couple of days how would it taste if I fused these two together… I knew it would be a quick alternative to all the sudden biryani cravings. That’s what I just ended up doing last afternoon when I had this longing to eat some biryani.. (Just a week back I binged on some fish biryani.. Yes, both my kid bro & I can eat biryani for breakfast + lunch + dinner).
The best part is that I have found a perfect biryani powder mix here in the UK. All the while in India I never found something as good as this brand. Its called Shan. I have used their Biryani Masala, Bombay Special Biryani Masala; & both are yummy. They have loads of varieties in their Biryani masala’s. Wonder why I’m making this an endorsement for that brand??? Anyways, use your favourite brand of biryani masala for this dish.
Beauty of this version of the dish is that, unlike the time-consuming traditional biryani, this is ready in 15 mins.. 🙂 Most Couscous packs that you get in the market are the pre-steamed & dried variety. These packs usually instruct you to use 1.5 parts of boiling water or stock to one part of couscous & before you know it, the couscous swells up & is ready to be separated using a fork. Since its made of wheat its a good substitute for rice.
The biryani did turn out as yummy as the traditional one, just that it was there was a slight confusion in the brain.. Since it was used to chewing rice when it gets a whiff of biryani & the plate was filled with couscous grains.. So there was a slight mismatch between the sensory organs. But the tummy did feel good.. thats what matters right?
Ingredients: (Serves 2) Preparation Time: 15 – 20 mins
Couscous – 1 cup, uncooked
Onions – 1 large, finely chopped
Garlic – 4 cloves, finely chopped
Ginger – a small piece
Cashews – 1 tbsp, chopped roughly
Green chilli – 1, slit
Biryani masala – 1.5 tbsp
Tomato – 1 medium-sized, chopped
Finely chopped Fresh Mint+ Coriander leaves – 3 tbsp
1.5 cups of mix-veggies of your choice, I used diced mushrooms, cubed potatoes, green peas & sweetcorn. You can add carrots, beans, cauliflower etc.
Tip: If you are planning to use potatoes, cauliflower, carrots or veggies that require more time to cook than the couscous then keep them in a bowl of boiling water with some salt, remember the bowl should be off heat, close this bowl with a plate; now start preparing the dish, so by the time you reach the stage where you need to add these veggies into the dish, they would have cooked at least halfway.
Yogurt – 1.5 tbsp
Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
Virgin Olive Oil – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Heat a pot, set the heat to medium. When hot add the cooking oil alone & when hot add the green chilli. Sauté it for a couple of seconds so that the oil absorbs the flavour & heat from the chilli. Next throw in the cashews, chopped ginger & garlic. Sauté them or just about 30 seconds. We do not want garlic to change colour. Next add the chopped onions & a pinch of salt. When the onions turn translucent add the biryani masala & mix well. Add 1.5 tbsp of the chopped coriander+mint leaves. Let the masala fry along with the onions for 2-3 minutes.
Next add the chopped tomatoes & the veggies (Do not forget any veggies kept in the bowl of boiling water, drain the water & add these as well). Add salt to taste. (Remember that the veggies from the bowl would have absorbed some salt already from the water). Add the yogurt. Mix well. Toss the veggies around for a minute. Now add 1.5 measures of water.
Tip: I usually boil the water in a kettle & keep it ready, rather than adding water at room temperature & waiting for it to come to a boil.
Adjust the seasoning & add the couscous. Simmer, close with a lid & let the couscous absorb the water. Cook the couscous as per your pack instructions. Usually all packs ask you to cook in simmer till all water is absorbed & then turn off the heat & let it stand for 5 minutes before you separate the grains using a fork. This is what I did.
Once done, you separate the grains using a fork. Add the virgin olive oil & mix as couscous tends to get dry.
Garnish with the rest of the chopped coriander+mint leaves.
Hope you love this as much as K & I did.. 🙂 Would love to read your comments.. Do add your comments when you try this out.. !
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