Happy New Year!! What a start to the year..Daibi…2 back-to-back posts from you??!!! Wow, that is indeed commendable!! :D. Your post on the healthy aspects of street foods should have been written some 15-20 years back when mothers like ours totally prohibited us from eating these things…uufff the reasons she gave for not letting us gorge on Papri Chaat or Gol Gappa were so convincing!! “You will get a sore throat..or You will get a stomach upset”!! Ma’s commandments on street foods however led to my secret missions to the market, eating few platefuls of Chaat, coming home and then again eating a full dinner!! You guys can very well imagine my condition, right? 😀 Burping and praying that next morning everything stays fine (especially stomach and throat), I would quietly go to sleep 😀 Till date Ma doesn’t know about those secret missions :P. Reading your post now am thinking, if only I had known these amazing facts about spices then, I would have combated Ma’s decisions with them instead of the secret missions!! But I must confess, the kick one gets in such secret missions was and continues to be awesome…heehhehehehe!!
The pics in your second post on Pushkar Mela look awesome Man!! I wish I was there too….considering what is going on in India today, it “seems” to be the worst place to be…but trust me in all the travels and stays around the world, I still feel ‘Go East or West, India is the Best!’….the stories, the rich culture, the melas, the food, the people….OH!! there are so many reasons always for me to go back to India!! I will…I will one day….
Anyways, today I am writing to share this amazing sauce I recently discovered which I think goes well with our chaat plates as well. Its called the Chermoula, a Maghrebian (Egyptian/Algerian/Moroccan/Tunisian) marinade for fish, seafood and meats. It looks like our simple mint chutney, but the blast of flavours you get with every spoonful, makes it awesome I think. The day I saw this recipe, I only had eggs in the fridge and some veggies. So I decided to make a Couscous Salad and Eggs Chermoula. Couscous is primarily a North African staple food made of semolina which serves as an accompaniment to the curries, tagines and meat/fish dishes. One can make lovely salads as well with it. In keeping with the pact of being and eating healthy this year, I used Wholewheat Couscous instead of the plain one that’s made of white flour.
Wholewheat Couscous Salad with Asparagus and Eggs Chermoula
For 2 people:
200 Gms Couscous (I took wholewheat Couscous)
A bunch of Green Asparagus (cut into 2 inch sticks)
3-4 Carrots (cut into round slices)
1 large Red Pepper (cut into cubes)
3-4 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 Hard Boiled Eggs, pan fried till golden brown
For the Couscous Salad, once the veggies are chopped, blanch them in salt water for 5-7 min and throw them in a bowl of cold water to get a crunchy texture. If you want the carrots to be softer than the others, then cook them for longer but DO NOT over cook the Asparagus and Red Pepper or else they would get all mushy mushy!In another pan, boil 300 ml water and add 1 tbsp each of olive oil and salt. Turn off the heat and mix the couscous in this. Cover and let it rest for 10 mins, stirring in between, till the couscous doubles up. At this point one can add some veggie or chicken broth powder, herbs and olive oil according to enhance the taste of the couscous. Then add the cooked veggies, season well and set aside. One can also add chopped olives, feta cheese cubes and sun dried tomatoes to make the salad more flavourful. But I didn’t use them as I wanted a strong taste of the pickled lemon in my chermoula.
For 1 cup Chermoula:
1 bunch Coriander
1 bunch Mint
1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds
1 Tbsp Coriander Seeds
1 whole Pickeled Lemon (I used a homemade lemon pickle – I had cut lemons into wedges, put them in a bottle with salt, sugar and red chilli powder, squeezed some juice out of the pieces and then had left the bottle in the sun for 2 weeks)
4-5 tbsp Parsley
3-4 large cloves of Garlic
1 medium Onion and red chilli powder (optional)
Lemon Juice and Salt according to taste
In a pan, dry roast the cumin and corainder. Then grind every thing together to get a smooth green paste.
To Serve: I plated the salad on one side, laid the egg on the chermoula and garnished it with cherry tomatoes.
I know it is difficult to get many of these ingredients in India…..but these days since I am in love with Maghrebian food and the chermoula, I just had to share the delight of making it with you guys!
Till next time,