I have grown to love spices so much since starting this blogging journey. I’m always amazed by just how much the right combination of spices can amplify a dish. It’s spectacular really. Let’s take this sweet potato chickpea couscous for example. It packs an incredible punch of bursting-at-the-seams flavor.
The spices are simple, but you have to remember that a little goes a long way, so balance is key. For this dish, I used cumin seeds, which are quite strong and aromatic. I also tossed in some coriander, cayenne pepper, garam masala (love it!), and cinnamon. To me, coriander doesn’t smell very strong, but it comes through nicely once added to the dish. The garam masala, cinnamon, and cayenne add a splendid balance of warm and spicy. Yesss, can’t beat that.
To go with the bold punch of spices, I added some dried apricots and raisins for a nice sweet note. Wait, how can I talk about all this sweetness and not mention the sweet potatoes? I am a sucker for sweet potatoes—they pretty much rock my world! But all this sweetness needs some balance, so I added a little acidic lemon juice to help mellow it all out. The carrots and chickpeas help too! See, it’s all about balance, I tell ya.
Now for the couscous itself. I jazzed it up with spices too! I melted some butter and tossed in some more cumin seeds, garam masala, and cinnamon and let all those lovely scents come together. What I love about couscous is that it takes no time at all to make. To the spiced up butter, all I had to do was bring some vegetable stock to a boil, add the couscous, and remove it from the heat. It puffs up in about 10 minutes, which is awesome. Easy peasy.
You could certainly mix the couscous and sweet potato mixture together, but you know me, I like to keep things separate. So, to individual bowls, I add a spoonful of couscous, followed by a ladle or two of the sweet potato mixture. The best part? The sweet, spiced broth that thickens a little as the taters cook down. Oh, to-die-for.
Go ahead, dig in and let your taste buds do a happy dance! It’s a party y’all. No really, this dish would be perfect for entertaining. Mmmm!
- 1-2 tbsp. oil
- 1 large onion—diced
- 6 cloves garlic—minced
- 2 tsp. coriander
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. garam masala
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- 3 sweet potatoes—diced
- 3 carrots—peeled and chopped
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup dried apricots—chopped
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas—drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp. butter
- ½ tsp. cumin seeds
- ½ tsp. garam malasa
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups couscous
- Heat the oil in a large pot set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the coriander, cumin seeds, cinnamon, salt, garam masala, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Stir to combine and let cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the sweet potatoes, carrots, vegetable stock, and lemon juice to the pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and let cook for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.
- Add the apricots, raisins, and chickpeas and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Melt the butter in a medium-sized pot set over medium heat-low heat. Add the cumin seeds, garam masala, cinnamon, and salt. Stir and let cook for about a minute.
- Add the vegetable stock, cover the pot, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the couscous, stir quickly, cover the pot, and remove it from the heat. Let the couscous sit for 8-10 minutes. Remove lid and fork fluff the couscous.
- To individual bowls, add some couscous, followed by a ladle or two of the sweet potato mixture. Serve warm.
Source: Adapted from Katherine Martinelli