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Share with your friends: Spicy eggplants with couscous

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My friends have asked me over several times to cook for them. And last week, when we were 12 people, I fumbled on what to cook for so many people? Vegetarian and on a budget? Difficult task but I came up with this fresh and spicy mix.

Couscous made of granules of durum wheat is ideally cooked by steaming, or, if you have the instant type, just infuse it in hot water, without boiling it. I love that it doesn’t have the same quantity of gluten as white pasta, which is usually my first option when feeding the many. I like to add a little vegetable stock to the water so the couscous is tastier. After it’s cooked I love to pair it with fresh vegetables, making it almost like a fresh salad, thus fooling some of the vegetable haters to eat them fresh.

And to top it off, I consulted with my favorite chef, my boyfriend, and we chose a spicy eggplant version of a sauce. The spicy part is toned down by the couscous and the other way around.

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What you need:

Spicy eggplants

4  medium eggplants

2 onions

Lemon zest

1 Turkish zucchini

2 carrots

Olive oil

1 ts cumin

2 ts Lebanese Sevenspices (or read this if you can’t get any)

Tomato sauce

700 g tomatoes

1 medium onion

Salt pepper

1 ts Chili powder

Herbs: basil, parsley, dill, tarragon, rosemary

Couscous

2 cups of couscous (they will double their volume)

300 g cherry tomatoes,

2 peppers

Butter

Vegetable broth

Fresh parsley

salt

Lemon juice

How to make it:

Start with the tomato sauce. Blend all the ingredients in a blender, taste. It must be spicier than you would like, because some of the hotness will get lost while cooking.

Dice the eggplants and the zucchini, finely slice the carrots. Chop the onions.

Sauté the onions, and after they become translucent, add the spices with the carrots. When using powder spices it’s important to add them early in the cooking process so they can release all their flavor.

Afterwards add the zucchinis. Cover to keep the water and prevent from burning. After 5 minutes add the eggplants. Mix well, so you blend the spices well. The eggplants must sit a while, about 30 min at a low burn. They will reduce by half. When they have reduced stir well one more time and add the lemon zest.

Then you can pour the tomato sauce. Mix well and cover again. Let it cook at a minimum heat for about 20 minutes, or until the sauce gets to a simmer. Taste and leave it 5 minute more if the sauce is not well cooked.

Couscous

Meanwhile put some water to boil mixed with some vegetable broth and a spoon of olive oil. You need 5 cups of water at 2 cups of couscous, because it grows 2 ½ times. When the water boils add a spoon of salt. In a minute pour the couscous, cover the pot and turn off the heat. This is the instant couscous method; the traditional way would involve steaming it on a colander. If you have extra time, go ahead and try it. I already had 12 people starving and staring at me.

While the water was boiling I halved the cherry tomatoes, diced the peppers, chopped the parsley and squeezed the lemon juice. After 5 minutes the couscous should have absorbed all the water. Add some butter for taste and mix it to make it fluffy. Add the tomatoes and the peppers, then the lemon. Mix well and taste.

The spicy eggplants should be served on the couscous, but you might want to eat it separately.

All in all cooking for 12 people in about 45 minutes it’s a time saver. And everybody licked their fingers at the end.

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Enjoy!


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