Cheap Chow: Israeli Cous Cous with Eggplant and Roasted Tomatoes

It probably seems like I don’t cook much, but it’s just me and I always end up with a hell of a lot of left overs, which I eat over several days. Today’s recipe is no exception: it will feed me through to Friday, at least. See, I wish I could cook single portions, but I come from a family of foodies and I only know how to feed four or more people – so I live a life of leftovers.

I had a craving for eggplant and decided to attempt to re-create an Israeli cous cous dish I’d had at a restaurant in Newcastle, during a road trip with my mum. It looks far more complex than it is and is a great one to pull out at a dinner party, served with lamb.

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It’s a really simple dish to make, despite the many components and extensive list of ingredients. It’s also a really cheap one to put together, considering how many meals it will feed you for.

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Israeli Cous Cous with Eggplant and Roasted Tomatoes (serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized eggplant (or 3-4 skinny, Japanese eggplants), cubed
  • 1 punnet of small tomatoes (such as cherry or grape, I used heirloom ones I picked up at the market), sliced in half
  • 1 1/2 cups of Israeli (Pearl) cous cous
  • 1 red onion, diced finely
  • A handful of mint, parsley or coriander leaves (I used leftover mint)
  • A handful of dried currants
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Half the juice of a lemon
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Method:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200C
  2. Toss the eggplant in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, the paprika and half the cumin seeds. Season with salt and pepper and chuck in the oven in a baking dish for 15 minutes
  3. In the meantime, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium size pot and sautee the red onion until it becomes translucent
  4. Add the pearl cous cous in with the onion and stir until the cous cous begins to turn lightly golden. When this happens, add in two cups of hot water and stir. Turn the stove down to a low heat and simmer, covered for eight minutes (or whatever the packet says), stirring occasionally
  5. At this stage, chuck the tomatoes into the baking dish with the eggplant and a splash of water, toss and throw in for another 5-10 minutes, or until the eggplant is cooked through
  6. Take the cous cous off the stove and pour into a large mixing bowl, add the currants and mint
  7. Fry off the rest of the cumin seeds in a dry pan, until you can smell them and then pour into a small bowl. Add the cinnamon, vinegar and lemon juice and whisk to combine
  8. Pour the dressing over the cous cous and stir
  9. Remove the eggplant and tomatoes from the oven and add to the bowl, stir carefully, as you don’t want to squish the eggplant too much (if there’s any juice in the baking dish, add that too, it’s yummy!)
  10. Season with ground pepper
  11. Serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt or labne