|fat couscous salad with feta and chlli|
I spent years trying to track down Israeli couscous in England. But I finally managed to identify it as mograbiah or moghrabbiyeh. This is also known as Lebanese, pearl or Israeli couscous. And until I had a word to describe it, I just called it fat couscous; it shall always be fat couscous to me.
Each grain of mograbiah, which is made from flour and salted water, is the size of a small bead, about half a centimetre across and you usually boil it in water or stock for about 15 minutes. Unlike ordinary couscous, which is both easier to track down and to cook, as usually you just pour over boiling water or stock, stir and leave for 10 to 15 minutes in order to allow the grains to fluff up.
As I mentioned, I did at first find it difficult to get hold of the mograbiah (although worth it in the end as the texture is great - not too gritty as finer couscous can sometimes be). I finally managed to find some at the Tas Restaurant’s deli (Ev) in Southwark and at the Phoenicia Mediterranean Food Hall in Kentish Town, north London. Merchant Gourmet also sells what they call Giant Couscous.
Delicious with my chicken with chilli, lemon and mint, and is perfect party food, if I say so myself!
skill level: easy
400g cooked chickpeas (about a tin's worth)
200 g couscous
375 ml boiling water, vegetable or chicken stock
120g feta cheese, crumbled
4 x spring onions, finely sliced (green and white parts)
1 x red pepper, diced
5-6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp tomato puree
4-5 shakes of Tabasco (to taste)
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp sugar
3 - 4 x fresh mint leaves, finely shredded
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh chives, snipped (to serve)
- Cook the couscous as directed, either using water or vegetable or chicken stock. If using the mograbiah, then drain and refresh under cold water. Make sure that the couscous is very well drained. It may be worth spreading on a clean tea towel or paper towels to soak up any excess water.
- Prepare the dressing by combining all the ingredients and giving a good whisk to ensure all the ingredients have blended together. You will need to taste to adjust the seasoning. You may need to add more sugar if it is overly sour (although personally the tart flavour is very much to my liking).
- Pour over the dressing and ensure all the components of the salad are well coated with dressing.
- Snip some chives over the salad before serving.