Ingredients for the roasted vegetables
• 2 fennel bulbs, cut into wedges of approx 1 cm thick
• 1 small lemon, cut into thin slices
• 1 large eggplant, cut into cubes
• 1 green bell pepper, cleaned and cut into pieces
• ± 4 tablespoons of good olive oil
• 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
• 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
• Salt, to taste
• Preheat the oven to 220°C
• Place the fennel wedges in a bowl and add the lemon slices, the coriander seeds, the fennel seeds, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a good sprinkle of salt.
• Make sure to mix all the ingredients well, then spread out on a baking tray and place in the oven to bake for approximately 20 minutes. The fennel is done when it starts to soften and brown.
• While the fennel is roasting, place the eggplant cubes and bell pepper pieces in a bowl.
• Add the remaining olive oil, sprinkle with salt and mix well
• Place the vegetables on a baking tray and place in the oven with the fennel. Or wait until the fennel is done, before roasting the rest of the vegetables.
Note: I have a very small oven and have to wait for the fennel to be ready, before I can start to roast the rest of the vegetables. If you, however, have a large oven, feel free to roast all the vegetables at once. Just make sure that the fennel wedges are spread out flat on the baking tray, this will allow them to roast much better.
Ingredients for the coriander paste
• Large bunch of fresh coriander
• 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
• Lemon zest of half a lemon
• ± 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
• ± 3 tablespoons of good olive oil
• 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, pan roasted & crushed, using mortar and pestle
• 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, pan roasted & crushed, mortar and pestle
• ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
• while the vegetables are roasting, cut up the fresh coriander and place it in a food processer
• Add all the other ingredients & process it until everything is finely chopped.
• Using a spoon, push the paste down a couple of times, to allow the ingredients to process as finely as possible. The paste is done, when it is smooth & quite moist. If the paste seems a bit dry, you may add some extra oil or lemon juice.
• When tasting the paste on its own, it could taste a little sharp or salty. But this will be balanced out when you add the paste to the couscous and vegetables at a later stage.
Ingredients for the Israeli couscous
• 2 cups of Israeli couscous (Pearl couscous)
• 3 ½ cups of boiling water
Preparing the couscous & finishing your dish:
• With your paste done, it is time to move onto your couscous. Place a non-stick pan on medium heat and add the Israeli couscous. Stirring frequently, allow the couscous brown slightly.
• As soon as the couscous has slightly changed colour, add the boiling water. Be careful not to burn yourself, a lot a steam will rise from your pan at this stage.
• Cover the pan with a lit, turn the heat down and leave the couscous to steam for about ten minutes.
• For the first ten minutes, you can leave the couscous to steam. After those 10 minutes, check and stir your couscous on a regular basis, because it might start to stick to the bottom of the pan. Check and stir the couscous for about 5 to 10 minutes longer. The couscous is ready when the couscous is al dente (mostly tender,but with a slight firmness when you bite into it)
• It is time to add the coriander paste and vegetables to the couscous. First add half of the coriander paste to the couscous. Now stir in the roasted vegetables and add the remaining paste. Make sure you mix the coriander, couscous and vegetables well, everything should be covered with coriander paste.
• Top with fresh coriander and finish of with a squeeze of lemon juice and serve hot.