Back in Ivory Coast, Couscous was not a favorite meal of mine. I tasted it the first time in my High School Cafeteria. They had this option where parents would subscribe to the service for the children to have two snacks and lunch per day for a monthly fee. So my parents signed up for this service against our will ... They finally decided to cancel after two years of us complaining about the quality of the food. This cafeteria had the same menu all year long! They would serve us the same meal every Monday: Couscous with a Tomato soup! This plate of plain dry Couscous with that runny sauce was tasteless! We used to call it: ''sauce miroir '' meaning mirror soup in French so it was so translucent! (LOL) Although this granulated semolina is well known in Ivory Coat, it does not originate from there, therefore it is not a very popular dish in the Ivorian cuisine. Thankfully, everything changed when I moved to Morocco. This country is by far on my top ten best culinary destinations. If you love fresh wheat bread, wood-roasted meat skewers, olive oil, oriental spices, Tajines... look no further! The first time, I had a Moroccan Couscous, I could not get enough of it. It soon became one of my favorite meals, always on the menu every Friday. The reason is that not only the exquisite taste but also the traditional way of cooking and eating it is very inviting and gathering. My Moroccan ''adoptive'' family would often invite us to have dinner with them. They would serve in a gigantic platter of Couscous with all kind of vegetables for us to eat together on the same plate. They would also serve another big portion and bring it over to the Mosque for the less fortunate to have a warm dinner... When I moved here not knowing any Moroccan restaurant, I tried to create a recipe so I can still enjoy my Couscous. This is a very fast way to cook it without spending as much time in the kitchen or look around for an ethnic store to buy the spices. This salad has a Canadian-Asian twist to it and is packed with flavors that balance well together! For this one you will need:
Ingredients - 2 cups of organic Couscous - 2 cups of water - peppers ( yellow and red ) -1/2 of yellow apple - 4 whitefish filet -2 tbsp of softened butter -salt and pepper Fish seasoning - 2 tbsp of fish sauce - 3 tbsp dark Soy sauce - 1/4 of a medium ginger -3 garlic cloves - 1 tbsp spoon of Dijon mustard -2 tbsp of honey -salt and pepper Vinaigrette - 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar - 2 tbsp of honey - 1 tbs of mustard - 1/2 cup of water -2 tbsp of olive oil -1 garlic clove - a handful of parsley or cilantro if you prefer - half a shallot -salt and pepper
Start with mixing the ingredients for the fish seasoning by crushing in a bowl the garlic and the ginger. Add the honey, the soy and fish sauce, a pinch of salt& pepper and the mustard. Mix it well and pour the seasoning on the whitefish filet. Let it marinate for 10-15 min. Lay the fish filet on some greased parchment papers and bake them for 20 min in a preheated oven at 350 F. While the fish is cooking, grab the bowl of couscous, mix with a pinch of salt &pepper and pour 2 cups of water over it. Make sure the water is just 1/5 inch above the couscous. It is better to have an under-cooked couscous. By adding a bit of hot water it will keep cooking compares to having a pasty couscous because of too much water. This is the fastest way to cook couscous but there are many other ways to prepare it. Place the bowl in the microwave and cook it for 5-7 mins. Once cooked, with a fork gently incorporate the butter into your couscous so it separates. The final step is to cut in small cubes the peppers & the apple and prepare the dressing. Dice the garlic, parsley and the shallot into very thin and small slices, mix all the liquid ingredients of the vinaigrette together and add the rest and voila! It is ready to serve. Bon appetit !