Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Perfect (Microwave) Cous-Cous

I really like the microwave. It's fast, energy-efficient, and if used properly results in very little, and easy washing-up. Since I started making white sauce with a microwave, I've never gone back to the pan. My sister swears by microwaved bacon. And I find it's the perfect way to kick start your cous-cous... admittedly the typical UK supermarket cous-cous, which I have been assured is not the real thing.

I pretty much follow the packet instructions - I know this sounds dumb, but seriously... Put it in a pyrex or other microwave-safe bowl. Add a knob of butter or a tbsp of olive oil - try each of them, they produce a different taste and you can think about what works best with your meal. Add a tiny bit of vegetable stock powder - less if you are using salted butter. Then add exactly 1.5 times the volume of dried cous-cous in boiling water from the kettle, and give it a little stir. Cover with a plate or a lid, and microwave for one minute, then leave to stand for another five minutes. Fork up the grains and serve! If you're running behind, just leave it covered, without forking it through, and it'll be fine for a good while. And I recommend any of these delicious adulterants, in small combinations or alone:

  • Before microwaving:
    • raisins
    • sultanas
    • chopped apricots
    • dried cranberries
  • After microwaving:
    • chopped toasted almonds
    • toasted pine nuts
    • chopped toasted cashews
  • Sprinkled on top or through:
    • a dash of cinnamon
    • a dash of paprika
    • very finely chopped parsley
    • very finely chopped coriander

My personal favourite and frequent fall-back being chopped apricots, a dash of cinnamon and chopped, toasted almonds. Yum!

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