Saturday, January 18, 2014

Chinese Couscous

Whenever I start to eat healthier, it becomes almost a contest with myself to see what new and interesting thing I can invent that's both good for me and will keep me full.  The healthiest food won't do you any good if you get hungry later and eat ice cream out of desperation.  Stir-fry has more fat than I would prefer to eat right now, and you have to deal with the "hungry an hour later" syndrome.  I came up with a mix of ingredients that I hoped would leave me a bit more full.

Yes, couscous is a mediterranean pasta, but the concept of pasta is Chinese.  I see no problem serving an Asian-themed vegetable stew over couscous.  As for the cabbage, I don't think I've ever used regular cabbage for anything other than cole slaw.  Let's consider this a learning experience.

3/4 C dried adzuki beans
1 Tb olive oil
1 bunch green onions
*1 clove garlic, minced
*1 Tb fresh ginger, minced
1 C low-sodium vegetable broth
1 small eggplant, cut in large dice (or 2 zucchini)
1/2 small cabbage, shredded
1/2 lb white mushrooms, sliced
*1/4 C cilantro leaves, chopped
*2 Tb black bean sauce
1 C dry couscous
1/2 C roasted cashews for garnish

1.  The night before, rinse beans and soak in 2 C water.  2 hours before making the dish, drain.  Refill saucepan with 2 C water, bring to a boil, and simmer until step 3.

2.  Get out a 10- or 12-inch skillet with high sides (or a wok with a lid).  Cut green onions into bite-sized lengths and sauté in oil with garlic and ginger for 2 minutes.

3.  Drain beans.  Add broth, eggplant, beans, and cabbage to the mix.  It isn't going to look like there's enough liquid, but everything in the pot is going to give off some of its own moisture.  Cover and simmer until the eggplant is done, about 30 minutes.  If the pan does get dry, add water 1/2 C at a time.

4.  Add mushrooms, cilantro, and black bean sauce.  Simmer while you make the couscous.

5.  In a small saucepan, bring 1 C water and a dash of salt to a boil.  Stir in couscous, turn off heat, and cover.  Let sit for 10 minutes for the pasta to absorb the water, then fluff with a fork.

6.  Taste vegetables and add salt if necessary.  Place couscous on serving platter and top with vegetables.  Sprinkle with cashews.  Serve hot.

Difficulty rating  :)

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