Coconut Cilantro Toasted Israeli Couscous
Unlike the tiny grain-like flecks of semolina couscous that fluffs and softens as it steams in aromatic water, Israeli couscous is similar in texture to pasta. Miniature pearls swell up in cooking liquid and turn velvety soft, similar to risotto, and the finished product spoons out thick and rich. Mild coconut milk lends its muted flavor and viscosity to this version, which is a perfect accompaniment to main courses featuring Asian, Latin, or tropical ingredients.
1 cup Israeli couscous
1¾ cups light coconut milk (one 13.5-ounce can)
¼ cup water
½ teaspoon kosher salt
10 grinds fresh black pepper (about ⅛ teaspoon)
⅛ teaspoon cayenne
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Heat a medium deep sauté pan with a lid over medium-high heat.
Add the couscous and toast it for 3 to 4 minutes, until it turns golden and smells like baking bread.
Add the coconut milk, water, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Bring the liquid to a gentle boil, cover the pan, and decrease the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, until the couscous is tender and creamy and the liquid has been mostly absorbed.
Stir in the cilantro, adjust the seasoning to taste, and serve immediately.
(* Recipe from 'Choosing Sides, From Holidays to Every Day, 130 Delicious Recipes to Make the Meal' by Tara Mataraza Desmond- Andrews McMeel, September 10- Photography by Ben Pieper- all rights reserved)