A North African style dish, the predominant flavour in this chickpea and couscous dish is ras-el-hanout, a combination of spices commonly used in Moroccan cuisine.
The couscous, chickpeas, and corn bring a lot of texture and contribute some great flavour. It is the ras-el-hanout spice mix though that gives this dish its real character.
Similar to garam masala in India, there is no standard recipe for ras-el-hanout. It will be a combination of spices which will likely include cumin, dry ginger, peppercorn, cloves, and cinnamon. Cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, coriander, paprika, fenugreek, and turmeric may also be included.
You can purchase the ras-el-hanout for this couscous as a spice mix. You may, unfortunately, have to look further afield than your local supermarket. It is available online, or you can make your own. Couscous and chickpeas are common ingredients in North African cuisine. You should be able to find these just about anywhere.
In terms of centers of the culinary world, Morocco is the one holding the flag for North African cuisine. As it borders the western edge of the Mediterranean, this dish can comfortably be classified as “Mediterranean Inspired”.
Another couscous recipe you may want to try is this “Mediterranean inspired” baked salmon fruit and nut couscous. Baking the salmon together with the couscous in foil made for such a tasty dish.
Ras-e-hanout couscous with corn, red peppers, and chickpeas
- Pre heat the oven to 180 degC.
- Bring a litre of vege or chicken stock to the boil.
- Add the corn cobs and boil for 5 minutes.
- Remove corn and set aside to cool. Retain the stock.
- Wash, halve, and trim the red peppers.
- Smear with olive oil.
- Rinse the chickpeas.
- Cut the tops (pointy bitoff the large garlic cloves.
- Put the red peppers and garlic cloves on a baking tray.
- Sprinkle some olive oil, salt, and pepper on the garlic.
- Roast the peppers and garlic for 60 minutes.
- Cut the kernels from the corn.
- Dice the roasted red peppers into 10x10mm pieces.
- Remove the garlic from the shells and dice the cloves into 1/8ths.
- Add the couscous to a large bowl.
- Add the sesame oil, ras-el-hanout spice mix, cranberries, and nuts to the couscous and mix well.
- Add the stock to the couscous bowl until the stock is 1 cm above the top of the couscous.
- Seal the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Remove the plastic wrap and fluff up the couscous.
- Add the 20g butter and mix into the couscous.
- In a very large bowl, gently combine the couscous mixture, the corn kernels, the roasted garlic, the diced red pepper, and the chickpeas.
- Serve the couscous with a green salad.