This is a fabulous way to prepare couscous! I love the crunchy burnt bits, it is my favourite part. It keeps quite well for a day or two, and I strongly recommend reheating it in the oven instead of microwave so the top gets crispy again. The couscous is simply mixed with a tomato and onion mixture, then pan fried until the bottom is crispy. My new favourite way to have couscous – definitely one to pop in your RecipeTin app (with just a tap!)!
This recipe is based on the Couscous with Tomato and Onion from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook which I am obsessed with. It has so many ideas for new ways to prepare fresh and simple food, with a heavy emphasis on vegetarian recipes. I altered the recipe to remove the butter and reduce the amount of oil generally, as well as reducing the amount of water used to prepare the couscous to make the couscous less soggy once cooked (as it continues to cook and absorb liquid when in the stove).
I served it with a simple zucchini and fennel side salad – ribbons of zucchini (using a potato peeler), shaved fennel (using a mandolin) dressing with a squeeze of lemon and olive oil, sprinkled with fennel fronds (recipe outlined briefly below).
You might also like this Middle Eastern Spiced Chickpea Salad which has been very popular, also inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi. Ready in just over 10 minutes, and absolutely delicious!
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 tsp vegetable stock powder (or chicken stock powder, or just salt)
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced (about 1 1/4 cups) (see notes)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp sugar
- Handful coriander or parsley leaves (optional)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Fresh black pepper
Combine couscous, stock powder (or salt) and water. Cover with cling wrap and put aside for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan about 20cm wide over medium heat.
Add the onion and sauté until translucent and soft, but not browned - about 3 to 5 minutes.
Add tomato paste and sugar and stir for 1 minute.
Add the diced tomatoes, salt and black pepper and cook for 3 minutes.
Combine the tomato mixture and couscous, and mix well.
Wipe the pan (you don't need to clean it thoroughly), then heat the remaining 2tbsp olive oil over medium heat.
Add the couscous mixture, using the back of a spoon to press the mixture firmly and evenly into the pan. The firmer you press it in, the better it will hold together.
Cover (even with a lid for a larger pot is fine) and leave for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, loosen the edges slightly with a knife, put a plate on top, say a prayer, then flip quickly to invert the couscous pancake onto a plate with the crispy side up.
Serve warm while it is nice and crispy!
2. Couscous is normally made with a 1:1 couscous water ratio, but with this dish, it is reduced slightly because the couscous continues to cook and absorb liquid when it is in the pan.
3. I served this with a simple zucchini and fennel salad - ribbons of zucchini (using a potato peeler), shaved fennel (using a mandolin) dressed with a squeeze of lemon and olive oil. Sprinkle it with fennel fronds and season with salt and pepper. It is a refreshing combination with the warm, hearty couscous pancake!
4. Reheat in the oven in order to make the top crispy again (if you do it in a microwave, it will just go soggy)