I made an annual pilgrimage to Israel virtually every year for the many years preceding my aliyah and I always took advantage of this time to demonstrate new recipes to my eager-to-learn family here.
Shopping for ingredients for these dishes often proved to be extremely challenging and requests for mascarpone cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, filo pastry and other foodie essentials were met with blank stares.
That was then...this is now...and the culinary scene in Israel has changed just as dramatically as the Tel Aviv skyline. I've yet to find a single ingredient that you can't get here - although admittedly you sometimes need to know exactly where to look - and I find local supermarket shelves often boast products that are virtually impossible to find elsewhere. One of my favorites of these is the caramelized, sweet Chinese pecans which are both incredibly moreish and extremely versatile. I always take along a few packets as gifts when travelling abroad and I include these scrumptious nuts in homemade granola, atop salads and in a variety of delicious desserts.
Here I've made use of Israel's natural bounty to put together a wholewheat couscous salad with a difference.
It offers the essential components of contrasting colors, flavor and textures...it's low in fat yet high in flavor...and it takes literally minutes to prepare.
Try it today and it's sure to feature on your dining table always!
Nutty apricot & cranberry wholewheat couscous salad
1 finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon garam masala/curry powder
1 cup wholewheat couscous
1 1/2 cups chicken/vegetable stock
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup dried cranberries/craizens
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped Chinese pecans
1: Fry the onion with the garam masala/curry powder for a few minutes till golden.
2: Add the couscous and stock, give a good mix and then cover tightly till stock has been absorbed.
3: Fork through the apricots, cranberries and parsley and mix in the Chinese pecans just before serving.
Cook's notes: Garam masala is available at all spice shops and contains a mix of fragrant spices. Wholewheat couscous is easily available at any supermarket and offers more texture and health benefits than regular couscous. I use the Knorr stock cubes - I like the pareve 'Taste Of Chicken' flavor best - and would use one cube of stock to the 1 1/2 cups of water required here but you can use 2 teaspoons of stock powder instead. Cranberries are also known as craizens and look like bright pink raisins and these are sold at all supermarkets as are the caramelized Chinese pecans.
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