I can’t wait to share this month food blogpost with you, for it’s a pretty special one. Not only is it one my very favourite dishes to eat at the moment, it is also a recipe I kind of came up with myself. I’ll be careful saying this, though, because I’m pretty sure there must be a zillion recipes out there quite similar to this one. I can’t imagine no one before me came up with this tasty combination of yummy ingredients. But this particular version came to existence in my little kitchen, without the tempting influence of Pinterest or any of the incredible food blogs out there to guide me along. I simply thought to combine all my favourite ingredients & see what would happen. So, there is eggplant, there are lemons, there is olive oil, garlic, coriander and….. fennel. Goodness me, do I love fennel these days! I think it’s fair to say I’m suffering from a severe fennel-crush at the moment. And then to think that I, until a few months ago, never used to eat fennel. I don’t know what I did eat, I don’t know what I was thinking and how I managed to get through so much of life, without this amazing, lovely & incredible vegetable as a regular on my shopping list. But it has become quite clear now why I at times used to feel so miserable in the past 😉
Anyway, let’s move on to the recipe. I must admit, it has been quite a challenge to write it down, so I hope it has turned out the way it is supposed to. I usually just wing it in the kitchen, especially when I am making things up. And any original recipes I start off with, transforms slightly as time goes by. A teaspoon might become a tablespoon and a dash of salt can be anything between a little or a little more. So you might have to be bear with me on this one. And please, just add a little more of this or that if you feel it needs it.
I have tried to keep the recipe short, but because it involves three separates elements, I did have to break it down into quite a few steps. But none of it is complicated, none of it takes a long time and more importantly, it will all be so worth it in the end. And most of the things can be done simultaneously. Feel free to leave any of your questions in the comments below and I will see whether I know the answer:)
Well, I really hope you like this delicious Israeli couscous, the tasty coriander paste & the delightful vegetables. And of course, I’m curious how it turned out:)
Have fun cooking & I’ll get back to you soon!
Israeli couscous with coriander paste & 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.