Fried Couscous Salad

September 4, 2018 § Leave a comment

Fried-Couscous-SaladCredits: Quick Page template by retrodiva {designs}; crochet element by KaBoks

I was introduced to couscous on my trip to Morocco and Spain five years ago. Before that, it was really out of my radar and had no interest whatsoever. But having tasted some amazing couscous dishes/salads while on that trip, I am now an occasional fan. I say occasionally because I have moods for it and when I do, this is my go-to recipe adapted from Giada de Laurentiis’ recipe.

The flavors go so well together—saltiness from the cheese, sweet and peppery from the basil, sweet and tart from the sun-dried tomatoes and the lemon dressing. The cucumber ties it all together with its crunchy freshness.

What You’ll Need:

For the Couscous:

  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (10-ounce) box (1 1/4 cups) couscous
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 4 ounces Havarti or Quesong Puti, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 small or 1/2 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

For the Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice from 1/2 large lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

What You Do:

For the couscous:

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the couscous. Cover until the liquid had been absorbed and the couscous is tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Using a fork, fluff the couscous and break up any lumps.

In a large, nonstick skillet heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the garlic and discard.

Increase the heat to high and add the couscous. Cook, constantly stirring, for 6 minutes. Continue to cook the couscous, stirring every 5 minutes, until toasted, about 25 minutes.

Transfer the couscous to a large serving bowl and cool for 5 minutes. Add the Havarti, cucumber, sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan, and basil.

For the dressing:

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper until smooth. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until the couscous is coated.

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What to Eat in Myanmar: Laphet Thoke

January 11, 2018 § 1 Comment

Myanmar's-Tea-Leaf-SaladCredits: Quick page by retrodiva {designs}

Laphet, also spelled lakphet, lephet is fermented or pickled teal leaf, and it has a very long history in Myanmar. Thoke means salad. Myanmar’s national dish is a salad made of tea leaves.

Laphet-Thoke

Teashops around Myanmar pour gallons of green and black tea every day yet half of the tea consumption is eaten not drunk. An extraordinary characteristic of its national dish is the delicate use of fermented tea leaves.

fermented-Tea-leaf

The slightly bitter leaves are mixed by hand with shredded cabbage, sliced tomatoes, crunchy deep fried beans, nuts and peas, toasted sesame seed, crushed fried shrimp, a splash of garlic oil and slices of chili and garlic. It’s actually a versatile dish that can be eaten as a snack, an appetizer or with rice, a meal hard to miss when in Myanmar, actually. I instantly fell in love with it and prefer to take it as an appetizer – it has lovely textures and flavors that is umami, tangy, and savory in one mouthful.

Myanmar culture is diverse and multi-ethnic and their cuisine is testament to it.

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