This recipe is inspired by the Big Ready Steady cookbook from 1997 which I bought off someone at work. Luckily, it had a vegetarian section at the start which I got stuck into right away. The original recipe used bulgar wheat and a few other ingredients which I didn’t have at the time I decided to make it. This is my take on the recipe and makes a light and yummy dinner. My partner who isn’t a fan of couscous gave this one the seal of approval.
I’ll admit that the ingredient list looks long and scary. However, you can always omit things you don’t have and replace others. For example, coriander with mint/parsley (dried is OK), limes with lemons and omit the dressing. While the dressing does add flavour to the dish, the couscous, aubergines and salsa have plenty of their own.
For the aubergines/eggplants:
1 large aubergine – cut lengthways first and then horizontally to make half-moon shaped pieces (see pictures)
2 eggs, whisked
1/2 teaspoon ground garlic
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs
For the salsa:
3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons of finely chopped coriander
juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon olive oil
For the couscous:
1 and 1/2 cups of couscous
3 cup of water
1 cube of vegetable stock
small knob of butter (optional and can be replaces with olive oil)
For the dressing:
2 teaspoons clear honey
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground garlic
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
seeds from 2 cardamom pods, crushed
2 teaspoons piri-piri or Tabasco sauce
1. Combine the eggs, chilli, garlic and salt to make an egg wash.
2. In a shallow pan, heat a tablespoon of oil and spread it around the base of the pab.
3. Dunk each slice of aubergine first into the egg wash and then into the breadcrumbs so as to coat the slice on both sides. Place the slice into the pan. Continue until the pan fills up. You might need two batches to cook the entire eggplant.
4. Drain the eggplants on a paper towel to remove excess oil/juices.
5. Combine all the salsa ingredients and set aside.
6. Heat the water and vegetable stock cube in a medium sized pot until it starts to bubble.
7. Add the couscous in a thin stream, mixing constantly to avoid lumps and stir for 5 minutes.
8. Turn the heat off, put a lid on the pot and let the couscous sit for 5-10 minutes.
9. You will see that the couscous swells up by absorbing all the moisture. Now add the blob of butter and stir it through the couscous. Add 2 tablespoons of the salsa and toss it through the couscous to add more flavour to it.
10. Mix all the dressing ingredients in a microwave-proof bowl.
11. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute or until mixture just starts to bubble.
12. To serve, place a scoop of warm couscous on the plate. Top it up with a generous serving of salsa. Place the eggplants on top of the salsa. Finally, drizzle the dressing over the top of the eggplant.
1. If you are vegan, then rub salt, chilli and garlic into the aubergine and grill it. Also, omit the butter going into the couscous or replace it with olive oil.
2. The butter/oil essentially keeps the couscous grains from sticking together and turning into a big blob.