A fragrant Moroccan couscous with currants and pine nuts. This delicious side dish is so quick and easy to make. The couscous is seasoned with aromatic spices. It has the perfect balance of sweet and savory tastes and is slightly crunchy too which I love.
What is Moroccan Couscous:
Couscous is a type of pasta that contains gluten. This small, granular pasta is made of semolina flour. It contains a good amount of protein and fiber with very little fat and no sodium.
Couscous comes in three different varieties: Moroccan couscous, Israeli couscous (also known as pearl couscous) and Lebanese couscous which is similar to Israeli couscous but takes a longer time to cook.
For this recipe, we are going to use the smallest size of couscous, known as Morrocan couscous. This type of couscous will only require a short time to cook.
Moroccan Couscous with Currants Ingredients:
This flavorful side dish of couscous contains toasted pine nuts and currants. It's seasoned with the following aromatic spices, some of which are from the Middle East: turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, chili pepper, paprika, and mint. I actually opted in for ancho chili pepper instead of regular chili pepper to give it a sweet and smoky flavor (without the intense heat). This side dish is not considered as spicy food.
Also, check out these delicious recipes:
- COUSCOUS SOUP (FLAVORFUL TOMATO BROTH)
- MEDITERRANEAN ROAST CHICKEN WITH VEGGIES
- HARISSA CHICKEN RECIPE – OVEN ROASTED!
Currants are dried seedless grapes with a tangy and sweet taste. It has a tart flavor and is less sweet than raisins. Currants are not as widely available in the market as raisins, but they go quite nicely in many dishes (and drinks). I bought currants from an international market in my area, and I believe that Whole Foods also sells them. Just be sure to call your local supermarkets for availability before you drive there.
Toasted Pine Nuts:
Pine nuts also called piñón, pinoli, or pignoli, are the edible seeds of pines. A classic ingredient for pesto. They are very high in oil, and it has a buttery texture. Toasting pine nuts will intensify their rich flavor. In this recipe, I just toasted the pine nuts in a small pan and cook over low-medium heat for 2 minutes. I also stirred the nuts frequently to prevent burning.
Pine nuts are expensive, about $19.99 per pound. I highly recommend buying from the bulk bins so you don't have to buy in much larger quantities than you may otherwise need. I only paid around $1 per 4 tablespoons of pine nuts.
It is a lot of fun to broaden one’s variety of dishes. My husband was always comfortable cooking pasta, but really only tried Italian pasta dishes Branching out to include this in his rotation was kind of out-of-box for him, but he couldn’t believe how easy it was and now is a regular in his rotation of meals. It’s fun as the couscous inspires him to try to cook different Mediterranean and Middle Eastern meats and even soups. One small, easy side dish can inspire a whole new direction of cooking!
Moroccan Couscous with Currants and Pine Nuts
- 1½ cups Morrocan couscous , (dried)
- 1½ cups broth
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoon ground coriander
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ancho chili pepper
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3 tablespoon dried currants, (add more according to your liking)
- 3 tablespoon pine nuts, (toasted) (add more according to your liking)
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh mint
- In a large pot, add broth, butter, cumin, coriander, salt, turmeric, cinnamon, ancho chili pepper, smoked paprika and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, turn off the heat and add the couscous. Cover the pot and let it stand for 5 minutes or read the cooking instructions on the product packaging.
- While that is sitting, toast the pine nuts. Put the pine nuts in a small pan and cook over low-medium heat for about 2 minutes, be sure to keep shaking the pan to prevent them from burning.
- Transfer the couscous to a large bowl. Add the pine nuts and currants to the couscous and stir to combine everything. Season with additional salt and/or black pepper if needed.
- Serve with chopped mint.