SPICE UP A STAPLE
COUSCOUS SOAKS UP FLAVOUR AND IS SO EASY TO COOK
Rice – you either love it or hate it. I spent many years backpacking the globe and that was our staple diet on many a nights, depending on our budget. Then we came to Morocco and I discovered couscous.
To be honest, I’m still a bit “riced out” but I do love couscous. It absorbs so much flavour and takes nothing to cook. Add any spice to it and it tastes so exotic.
With winter here I’m still loving cooking Middle Eastern dishes and have been playing around with a few recipes lately.
Here’s one that I did last week and I tweaked again on the weekend and it doesn’t really matter whether you use pork, lamb or beef mince, it’s entirely up to you and what you prefer. Enjoy!
Persian meatballs with tahini and nut sauce
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
500g minced lamb, pork or beef
1 large onion, finely chopped or grated 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated 2 tsp Red Hot Chilli Pepper Baharat spice 1 egg
½ tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
30g slivered almonds, toasted 30g pine nuts, toasted 4 tbsp tahini paste (preferably unhulled) 100ml cream
1 garlic clove, chopped or grated
Zest from 1 lime
Lime juice from half a lime
Couscous, cooked (one cup dried couscous will be ample for four people when cooked.) Fresh whole coriander leaves or fresh mint leaves
A sprinkling of sumac
Extra whole toasted pine nuts and slivered almonds for sprinkling
In a bowl hand mix all the meatball ingredients together. Roll into roughly 16 balls and set aside
Add crushed garlic clove and toasted slivered almonds and pine nuts to a mortar and pestle and crush roughly
In a separate pot whisk, cream, tahini paste, cream, water, zest and lime juice together.
Taste for seasoning and adjust to your liking then heat gently on medium heat until gently simmering.
Heat oil in a large fry pan and cook the meatballs over medium heat, turning often until brown all over which will take about 7 minutes.
Serve couscous in bowls and arrange meatballs on top. Pour over sauce, sprinkle with remaining pine nuts, slivered almonds, sumac and fresh herb leaves.
Add lime wedges on the side and serve immediately.
Visit Vicki at Red Hot Chilli Pepper, 9/65 Bulcock St, Caloundra
TASTE: Pages 9-11