The other night was one of those nights that probably made our neighbor across the ally think we have some sort of bipolar disorder when it comes to food.
Faced with nearly nothing in the house and diminishing levels of inspiration, Chris and I made one of those meals that was as deeply satisfying as it was weird: Moroccan inspired couscous with a side of Huang Gua Ma La.
How did we get there? Well, the pickles are easy to explain:
After years spent erroneously avoiding all things vegetable, I’ve since come to love our green and leafy friends. In fact, I usually demand their presence at our dinner table. When I can’t think of anything else to fit the veggie bill, Chris and I make Chinese pickles.
Lest you think these pickles are a condiment, let me assure, I’ve been known to inhale 2 or 3 cucumbers worth of these sweet and sour and spicy gems before Chris has even picked up his chopsticks to start eating.
If I remember, tomorrow I’ll share our recipe for pickles because they are THAT good, like YOU WON”T BE ABLE TO STOP EATING good, like YOU MIGHT WANT TO MOVE TO CHENGDU WITH US SO YOU CAN EAT THEM ALL THE TIME good. Yea, you might want to sign up for my RSS feed right now just so you know the second I share that recipe with the world.
Anyways, back to dinner the other night. While we knew the pickles were going to be tasty, what really (pleasantly) surprised us was the couscous. It was sweet and salty and filling, even without any meat. Weirdly enough, it also went well with the pickles. Perhaps the sweet and salty notes in both were sort of complimentary but perhaps I was also just really, really hungry.
To make the couscous, we sort of threw in whatever flavors we thought would be good together but luckily, I have some approximation of a recipe for you:
To Make the Couscous:
Follow the directions on the box (we used chicken stock instead of water to give it a heartier taste, and FYI, the whole wheat version of couscous is wayy more pleasant on the palate than most whole wheat pastas so give it a try)
To make the stuff that goes in the couscous:
In a medium to large wok (or saute pan):
Saute about 1/2 Cup of diced onion in a pan with a touch of oil (shallots would be good here too) for about 2 minutes
Add in a about 1/3 Cup (the more the better I think) of roughly chopped green olives
Add about 1/3 Cup golden raisins (again, the more the better. Regular raisins might also work but the golden guys are definitely worth the grocery trip here)
Throw in about a teaspoon or a little more each of cinnamon, cumin, and paprika
Add in about half a cup of orange juice (a little more might be even better, or better yet, just add some to the couscous water)
Let things simmer up for about 5 minutes then dump in the cooked couscous and stir things around until the couscous has all of the great pan scrapings and juices mix in.
Ta Da! Deliciousness in a big bowl!