Here’s a quick, delicious and easy recipe that is made with a couscous mix.  Feel free to add chicken or meat, but this is a vegetarian version.  The Moroccan spice, Ras al Hanout, was a gift from friends just back from Rabat, but there’s a recipe at the end so that you can whip up your own version, varying the spices you use.

1 ½ cups sliced fresh mushrooms

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 medium size onion, diced

2 Tsp olive oil; 1 Tsp butter

2 carrots micro-waved in a half cup of water until tender but not soft

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

¼ cup currants

3 large dates, seeded and chopped

1 Tsp. apricot jam or 3 dried apricots, chopped

1 Tsp honey

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 ½ Tsp Ras Al Hanout spice*

1 5.8 oz box of couscous mix (I used Near East roasted garlic and olive oil but whatever suits your fancy just so long as it cooks in 5 minutes)

½ cup pine nuts (optional)

Sauté garlic in olive oil in large frying pan until light brown.  Add onions and mushrooms and stir over medium heat, cooking until mushrooms begin to brown and onions are translucent.

Meanwhile, scrap carrots and cut into 1 inch pieces.  Put carrots in a microwave proof container, cover with water and cook for 5 minutes.

To the mushroom mixture, add carrots, grape tomatoes, dates, apricot jam, honey, cayenne pepper and Ras al Hanout spice and cook until everything is thoroughly mixed.   Pour in the water from the carrots, including it as part of the water that the couscous mix calls for-usually 1 ½ cups.

To this mixture, add the seasoning that comes in the package and the butter and bring to a boil.

Stir  the couscous into the mushroom water mixture,  cover and remove from heat.  The couscous will soak up almost all of the liquid in five minutes.  It should be almost completely dry before serving.

Put the couscous into a warm, shallow serving bowl.  Sprinkle the couscous with pine nuts if you wish and serve immediately.

The couscous would go nicely  with a green salad.  Have Middle Eastern pastries for dessert with mint tea, Turkish coffee or expresso.  Or fresh fruit.

Homemade Ras Al Hanout:

Mix together the following and heat in a saute pan for a few minutes to mix flavors.  Cool. Will keep for a month in a sealed jar, stored in a cabinet.

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
I teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

More next time.

Melkam Megeb. Bon appetit. Buen provecho. Mànmàn chī! Guten Appetit! Dober tek! Selamat makan! Nush olsun! Svādiṣṭ khānā