Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Couscous Salad

Potlucks tend to be the bane of a vegetarian's existence. Sometimes there's nothing to eat but what you brought; sometimes you find yourself holding up the line to ask about ingredients in the unlabeled, yummy-looking mystery dish. And sometimes you're lucky -- at work, we had a lettuce-free salad potluck, and I could eat almost everything!

My contribution was a curried couscous salad. I started with this recipe and made the following changes. First, I cooked the couscous using the instructions here. (Note that pouring boiling water over toasting couscous will give you a volcano of steam and flying super-hot couscous bits. They don't tell you that part in the instructions.) I used a little oil to toast the couscous, and a little to saute the onions, and I mixed a little in with the lemon juice and spices -- all told, I probably used about 1/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup. I sauteed about 2 cups of chopped butternut squash (about 1/2" cubes) with the onion. I skipped the currants and used only 1 bunch of scallions (including the green part). And I went a little nutso with the seasoning: increased the lemon juice by about 2 tsp, doubled the cilantro, increased the coriander to 1 tsp, added a tsp of dried ginger, 1/2 tsp of cardamom, and about 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper. I cut the nutmeg to about 1/8 tsp and didn't use curry powder. Even after that, it was still pretty mild, but tasty. (And it makes a LOT...easily enough for 10 people. Or lunch for a few days.)

I think that it would be good with kidney beans, or lentils. And I'll be making some raita to go with it :)