Couscous, like salsa, is one of those foods with a name that’s just as much fun to say as it is to eat.
“Couscousssssssssss….. Salssssssaaaaaaaahhh…..” Fun right?
Well, as luck would have it, waiting for me at the dinner table last night was this fantastic meal made with both couscous AND salsa. What a treat!
To give myself more opportunities to say couscous and salsa within context, I kept giving myself dainty, Ren-sized portions instead of my normal heaping plateful. Attacking this delicious Creole dish with as much verve as usual, I would polish off each serving as quickly as I can, just so that I could say:
“Uh Mama? Could you please pass me some more couscoussssssss …..with some salllsssssaaaaaahh…..?”
This went on the entire night. 😆
Luckily for me, I have a terrific wife who thinks that my childishness can sometimes be charming (emphasis on “sometimes”), so tonight, I’ve been told that I’ll be getting another fantastic dish, this time with couscoussssssss…..and some harisssssaaaaahhh…..
I can’t wait to say it.
I love the texture of couscous. They’re basically tiny, miniscule balls of Berber pasta.
Ren’s succulent, perfectly cooked Creole shrimp over a bed of buttery couscous. Garnish with some fresh cilantro and a splash of lemon for some brightness and zing. Dee-licious!
A 1 kg box of couscous from Rustan’s Supermarket. The box goes for PHP 108, which is pricey compared to rice (PHP 30/kilo), but well worth it I think, at least once in a while. I really enjoyed it.
Apparently, couscous is one of the healthiest grain-based products around. It has a glycemic load per gram which is 25% below that of pasta, as well as a superior vitamin profile, containing twice as much riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, and folate, and containing four times as much thiamine and pantothenic acid.
In terms of protein, couscous has 3.6 g for every 100 calories, which is equivalent to pasta but well above the 2.6 g for every 100 calories of white rice. Couscous also contains a 1% fat-to-calorie ratio, compared to 3% for white rice, 5% for pasta, and 11.3% for rice pilaf.
For the Creole Shrimp (Yields four servings)
- 3 Tbsps olive oil
- 1/2 kilo medium shrimp (approximately 24) peeled, tail on, deveined
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 400 g canned whole tomatoes
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Pinch of ground allspice
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- 2 tsps Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup Dry sherry or dry white wine
- Tabasco or Sriracha, to taste, for serving
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- Handful of chopped fresh coriander or parsley
For the Couscous
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 cup couscous, quick cooking
- 2 knobs of butter
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Creole Shrimp
- Over medium-high heat, add olive oil to large skillet or sauté pan. Sauté onions, pepper, and celery until soft (about 2-3 minutes).
- Add garlic, crushed red pepper, oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, and allspice. Cook for another minute.
- Add sherry or wine, Worcestershire sauce, and tomatoes, then bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes or until tomatoes break down completely.
- Add shrimp and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until shrimp just turns pink. Adjust seasoning to taste with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Remove from heat, garnish with coriander or parsley, and serve with couscous (recipe below). If desired, add tabasco or sriracha to taste.
For the Couscous
- In medium saucepan, heat oil on medium. Add chicken stock and lemon juice.
- Bring to a boil, then add couscous and stir gently. Cover and remove from heat.
- Let stand for 5 minutes. Remove lid, add in butter, and fluff with fork to prevent sticking.
DID YOU KNOW?
That couscous, a Berber pasta dish made from semolina, is a staple food throughout Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and west of Libya? The name couscous is derived from the Berber word seksu, which means “well rolled, well formed, or rounded.”
JB and Renée are the Traveleaters behind Will Fly for Food, a travel blog for the gastronomically inclined. They enjoy experiencing food from different cultures so they’ve made it their mission to try every country’s national dish. Read more about them and their National Dish Quest here.