Israeli couscous is similar to regular couscous in that it’s a small, whole grain-like food made from semolina or wheat flour. Unlike most couscous products, this one is larger in size and is sometimes labeled pearl couscous.
Whatever label you put on it, this vegetarian Middle East dish has a delightfully chewy texture and, with the proper spices, is flavorful and appealing to the eye. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
1¼ cups Israeli couscous
3 cups water
Pinch of salt
1½ teaspoons coriander seeds
1 small garlic clove
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (plus more for garnish)
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon honey
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces feta cheese (crumbled)
Arugula, butter, Romaine or red leaf lettuce
Using a 4-quart pan, bring water to a boil. Add couscous and the pinch of salt. Cook for about 20 minutes. Drain well, and then transfer to a medium bowl to cool.
Toast the coriander seeds over moderately low heat until fragrant – about 2 minutes. Using a mini processor (or a traditional mortar and pestle), puree the garlic with the salt. Add the toasted coriander, sesame seeds and paprika to this mixture and blend until it forms a paste. Add the honey and olive oil and blend a little more.
Add the blended sauce to the couscous; stir well and season with salt.
To serve, prepare a bed of lettuce on a salad plate. Spoon couscous on top of lettuce and sprinkle crumbled feta on top of the couscous. Garnish this with additional toasted sesame seeds and serve while still warm.