Saffron-spiced couscous is a wonderful combination of flavors, colors and smells of Northwest African cuisine.
1. 6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2. 2 onions, cut into big chunks
3. 1 cup rings of carrots
4. 1 cup 1-inch chunks of eggplant
5. 1 cup 1-inch chunks of zucchini
6. 2 garlic cloves, crushed
7. 1 tsp. grated ginger
8. 2-inch piece cinnamon stick, broken into bits
9. 1 tbsp. cumin powder
10. 1 tbsp coriander powder
11. 3 cups vegetable stock
12. 2 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
13. ¼ cup tomato paste
14. 1 cup boiled chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
15. salt to taste
16. ½ tsp. chili powder
17. ¼ cup fresh chopped coriander
18. ½ tsp. saffron strands, soaked in 2 tbsp. warm water for half an hour
19. 1 ½ cup couscous
20. 5 cups boiling water
21. 1 tbsp. butter
22. 2 tbsp. fresh chopped coriander
A few fresh coriander sprigs
1. Heat oil. Add onions, carrots, eggplants and zucchini. Stir for 2 minutes.
2. Add garlic, ginger and the cinnamon sticks. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add cumin powder, coriander powder and vegetable stock. Stir and cook covered for about 15 minutes till the vegetables become tender.
4. Add the tomatoes and the tomato paste. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
5. Add chickpeas, salt and chili powder. Stir and add the coriander leaves and saffron.
6. Bring to a boil and remove from heat and keep aside.
7. To cook couscous, put the couscous in the boiling water and keep covered for 2 minutes. Drain out the excess water. Stir in the butter and coriander leaves in the couscous. To serve, spoon some couscous on a plate and ladle the vegetable stew on the top and garnish with coriander sprigs.