If you're me, you'd look at that title and have to come and see what it's on about! After all, giant couscous?
It really isn't so long ago that I was bewailing not being able to get enough flavour into normal couscous, without venturing into giant couscous - or Mograbiah, to give it its proper name.
Mograbiah does bear plenty of similarity to ordinary couscous in that both of them are round in shape, made from pasta dough and are vehicles for other flavours. However, where they differ (apart from the obvious size) is that where ordinary couscous is prepared by putting in a bowl and pouring a small amount of boiling water onto it, giant couscous is prepared by putting into a saucepan, pouring a slightly larger amount of water (or stock) on and heating gently or simmering until the majority of the water is absorbed, then you can leave it to soak up the remainder of the liquid.
It has a different texture too, well okay each grain is a lot larger so that would follow, but it also has a slightly slippery texture that can make eating it a bit of a challenge for youngsters who haven't yet learned that they eat with their mouth closed. Son and heir had no problem with it, but then there's little that disappears into his maw that ever sees the light of day again.
As with all couscous, its own flavour is very bland and it is entirely reliant upon what you put with it, for flavour. As such, cooking it in stock is a very good start.
With our Mograbiah, I decided to go for one last mediterranean style dish and roasted some courgette, aubergine, butternut squash, red pepper and red onion and dressed the lot with fresh mint and coriander plus a lemon juice and olive oil dressing.
For a welcome zing, I baked the pork chops in some of the excellent Mic's Chilli El Loco BBQ Sauce. The highly flavoured pork went so well with the calming influence of the roasted vegetables and zesty dressing. A real ying/yang thing was going on there!
Of course, it isn't essential that you put a barbecue pork chop with your giant couscous - you can use it however you fancy and with whatever you fancy. I found my pack of Mograbiah in my local Asda, which has a particularly good World Foods section. However, I'm sure you would be able to find some at your local ethnic food store - for instance, I know that Makkah's on the Ashley Road, Poole, definitely carries it. For me, it makes a nice change from ordinary couscous - and as I often have problems trying to decide upon the carbohydrate element in a meal, anything that extends my options can't be bad!
MEDITERRANEAN STYLE GIANT COUSCOUS (MOGRABIAH) (feeds 3)
1 tablespoonful of giant couscous pearls per person, plus a little for luck
vegetable or chicken stock (home-made, powder, cube or Knorr stock pot - all are good)
half a butternut squash, cut into half inch dice
a red pepper, seeds removed and cut into one inch sheets
a courgette, cut into half inch dice
half an aubergine, cut into half inch dice
a red onion, peeled and cut into thin wedges
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of half a lemon
a handful of mint leaves, shredded
a handful of coriander, chopped finely.
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180degC/350degF/Gas 4.
2. Check the cooking instructions on the side of the packet of Mograbiah and follow them, substituting stock for water.
3. While the couscous (Mograbiah) is cooling, place the vegetables (without the herbs) onto a baking sheet that has been lined with non-stick silver foil. Drizzle the olive oil over and season well. Toss the vegetables in the oil and seasoning, then place them into the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes or until tender.
4. Just before the vegetables are finished cooking, mix together the dressing for the couscous by placing the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and some seasoning into a small bowl and whisk together.
5. Shred the mint leaves and chop the coriander.
6. When the vegetables are cooked, tip them from the baking sheet directly onto the couscous. Stir through gently, taking care not to break up the pieces of vegetable.
7. Add the dressing and herbs and gently stir through again and serve before the herbs have a chance to wilt.