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Fragrant Vegetable Couscous

Cinnamon, cumin, and coriander suffuse this couscous with the haunting flavors of far-off places. In this context, nuggets of purple-topped turnips are a sweet surprise.

Courses: Side dish
Serves: 6 people

Recipe Ingredients

1 tablespoon 15mlOlive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons 7.5mlWhole cumin seeds
1 1/2 cups 355mlVegetable broth
2 tablespoons 30mlTomato paste
1 teaspoon 5mlSalt - or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons 7.5mlSweet paprika
1 teaspoon 5mlGround cinnamon
  Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
4   Carrots - peeled, halved (large)
  Lengthwise, and cut into 3/4" slices
1 lb 454g / 16ozPurple-topped turnips - peeled, and
  Cut into 1" dice
  = (or 1 lb rutabaga, peeled, diced 1/2")
1 1/2 cups 355mlCooked chickpeas
  = (or a 15-oz can drained and rinsed)
2 teaspoons 10mlGround coriander seeds
1/3 cup 20g / 0.7ozDried currants or
1/2 cup 80g / 2.8ozDark raisins
  = (plump in hot water if dried out)
1 cup 237mlFrozen green peas or petits peas
  = (rinse away any ice crystals)
1 cup 237mlUncooked couscous - (see comments)
1 cup 237mlShelled pistachios
  = (or coarsely-chopped toasted walnuts or
  Almonds or a combination)

Recipe Instructions

Over medium-high heat, heat the oil in the cooker. Stir in the cumin seeds and cook, stirring frequently, until they turn a shade darker and emit a toasted aroma, 20 to 30 seconds. Add the broth, and blend in the tomato paste, salt, paprika, cinnamon, and black pepper. Add the carrots, turnips, and chickpeas.

Lock the lid in place. Over high heat, bring to high pressure. Reduce the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 2 minutes. Quick-release the pressure. If the vegetables are not just short of tender, set (but do not lock) the lid in place and cook them over medium heat for another minute or two.

Stir in the coriander and currants. Adjust the salt to your taste, keeping in mind that once the couscous absorbs the liquid, the saltiness will be more subdued. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Stir in the peas and couscous.

Set the lid in place, turn off the heat, and let the mixture sit until the couscous is tender, about 5 minutes. If all of the liquid has been absorbed but the couscous is not sufficiently tender, rapidly stir in 1/4 cup boiling water, set the lid in place, and steam for a few minutes more. Alternatively, if the couscous is tender and there is unabsorbed liquid, drain it off. Stir in the nuts as you fluff up the couscous. Serve hot or at room temperature.

This recipe yields 6 servings.

The Pressured Cook by Lorna J. Sass


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