Thursday, June 11, 2009

Curried Couscous--Barefoot Bloggers

This month our first Barefoot Bloggers recipe is Ina's Curried Couscous, selected by Ellyn of Recipe Collector and Tester. Overall it is a pretty healthy choice, although Ina did find a way to work some butter into it, putting it in the boiling water for the couscous. I cook a lot of couscous and have tried various concoctions and combinations of butter, olive oil, plain water and stock to make it and have found the way I like it best, is to just to cook it in a bit of chicken or veggie stock and skip the butter and oil. I have never noticed a discernible difference in texture and flavor and why not save a few calories and some fat so you can have another of yesterday's incredible BLTs with Caesar Mayo? ;-)  I also used wholewheat couscous, cut some oil from the dressing and increased the amount of the (non-fat) yogurt. I replaced the raisins with dried cranberries (I love them paired with curry and they add nice color) I and added some chopped mint (mainly due to not having enough parsley). I paired it with some Turkish-spice rubbed lamb chops from Tyler Florence (tomorrow's post!) for a flavorful, exotic meal. 

The couscous recipe is from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook on page 94 and can also be found on the Food Network site here.

Curried Couscous
The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten
(Makes 6 (large) Servings)

1 1/2 cups couscous
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup small-diced carrots
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
1/4 cup blanched, sliced almonds
2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
1/4 cup small-diced red onion

Place the couscous in a medium bowl. Melt the butter in the boiling water and pour over the couscous. Cover tightly and allow the couscous to soak for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, curry, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Pour over the fluffed couscous, and mix well with a fork. Add the carrots, parsley, currants, almonds, scallions, and red onions, mix well, and season to taste. Serve at room temperature.

Notes/Results: Good flavors and textures and an easy and quick side dish. I have a similar recipe with quinoa that I make and I like the flavor of it a bit better than this one because of the citrus flavors I worked into it, however this is still very good and it is a faster to the table alternative. I made the whole recipe and used about a half cup of yogurt with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, which worked out fine. I also upped the curry powder a bit because I wanted a bit more curry flavor. Cooking the couscous in veggie stock also adds flavor, and I really liked the addition of the mint so much that I would leave it in next time I make it. In this case I used this recipe as a side dish with lamb, but with some feta cheese or marinated tofu it would be a great vegetarian entree and adding some grilled shrimp or shredded chicken would work well for a light summer lunch or dinner.

Thanks Ellyn for a great, healthier and lighter pick that is perfect for the warmer weather here. You can see what the other Barefoot Bloggers thought of this recipe by going to the BB site here.


  1. That looks really good! I love the way the cranberries sparkle like jewels in it.
    Great idea to have yogurt in the couscous, I have never done that.

  2. cranberries would be so good in this. this couscous was pretty amazing and so easy to make, and originally i didn't even expect to like it. those BLTs from yesterday look so good!

  3. That is a lovely, colorful pilaf!

  4. looks great never thought of yogurt in cous cous

  5. I like cooking in stock too. Love your couscous, looks like the perfect side dish!

  6. Deb, your couscous looks perfect! I just love the mint and cranberries, yum! I used vegetable broth and skipped the butter too. Your idea to lower the olive oil and up the yogurt is great, I will try that next time :)

  7. Your couscous looks wonderful. I loved the other items on your menu. This was a perfect accompaniment for lamb.

  8. Oh, I like it with the mint!! And with lamb, just perfect :D

  9. I loved this, and only because it's the first time I ever made couscous, I followed the recipe pretty much exactly. I'm glad to know I can cut down that much oil next time, because I will. I already used nonfat greek yogurt (such a fantastic product, I'm never without it), so if I can pair down that oil as well, we'll be all set.

  10. mmm lamb and couscous delicious!

  11. Your couscous looks lovely. Like your changes.

  12. Ooh, I love the addition of mint and dried cranberries. It looks great.

  13. How delicious!! I love that you swapped out raisins for cranberries. My favorite!

  14. Ooo, the mint sounds like a wonderful addition. I dislike parsley so I used cilantro and it was tasty. Your photos are beautiful!

  15. Have you posted your quinoa recipe? I've never used it, so I'm looking for something tried-and-true. ;)


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