Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Couscous with Shrimp and Feta cheese

It's been a very inconsistent and unpredictable climate here in San Diego for last one month. Sometimes it is cold crisp windy; the other day is warm and sunny. Today if you need a warm bowl of soup, the next day you may need some summer salads. This is typical here before the peak summer eventually arrives and summer fruits will bid good bye to winter.

Today what I am going to share is one of my favorite summer salads, called Mediterranean salad,  Couscous with shrimp and feta cheese. You can serve this as a side dish or serve it as a meal. The dish is made of couscous, granules of durum wheat and very popular staple food throughout North African cuisines. It is quick, easy and got a fresh look. Couscous has a mild flavor that makes it extremely versatile. And it works so well with different flavors, both sweet and savory. The texture looks like grainy, though it is technically not a grain. It tastes like a combination of pasta and semolina. It goes well with Greek spices and flavors. If you are from southern or eastern part of India and want to reduce your daily rice intake, then this dish is one of the healthiest substitutes. 

At this point, you may be thinking that it will be very complex process to cook Couscous and it’s not for the beginners. But that’s not true. It takes only 5-10 minutes to cook and came out perfect on my very first attempt! It’s difficult to go wrong in making nice fluffy couscous if you follow all the steps correctly. The old traditional method of cooking couscous used metal steamer first but nowadays you get ready-made pre-steamed and dried version.  So it got rid of at least one hard step :) 

There are several types of couscous. Most common one is the large Israeli one, which is pearled like couscous. Then there is Moroccan couscous that looks 3 times the size of cornmeal. What I cooked today is the second one. Just like any other salad, you can add any ingredient of your choice to this dish. Specifically I added grape tomatoes, garlic, shrimp, feta cheese and used light lemon dressing. That'sall! It came out not only very colorful but tasty too!

Couscous Salad with Shrimp and Feta Cheese : Serves 3
Prep time : 10 minutes, Cook time : 20 minutes, Total time : 30 minutes 

Ingredients :

Whole wheat Couscous : 1 cup

Extra-virgin Olive Oil : 2 tablespoon
Shrimp ( peeled and deveined ) : 1 lb
Red pepper flakes : a pinch
Grape or cherry tomatoes : 1/2 pint 
Garlic ( finely chopped ) : 2 cloves
Chick peas ( no salt added ) : 15 oz can , drained and rinsed 
Scallions / spring onion : ( 2 chopped )
Salt : 
Fresh dill / parsley / cilantro : 2 tablespoon ( finely chopped )
Lemon juice : 1 tablespoon 
Crumbled feta cheese : 1/2 cup

Method :

1. Cook the couscous as per package direction. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and sprinkle salt and red pepper flakes. Stir it occasionally, until the shrimp are pink. Once it is done, transfer the shrimp to a plate. 

3. Add the the remaining oil to the pan, and heat it up. Add garlic and tomatoes to the oil and stir it occasionally and cook until tomatoes are tender.  Add the chickpeas and keep stirring. 

4. Return the shrimp to the pan, add the scallions and 1 tablespoon dill.  Give some stirs. 

5. Fluff the couscous with a fork and add to pan. Add feta and mix it well. Check seasoning and add salt or red pepper flakes if needed. Add the lemon juice and again mix it. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon dill and serve. 

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1 comment:

  1. I love the texture of couscous! This is a light meal that makes me feel good (no matter how much I eat...). Beautiful presentation and I'm hungry now. :)