When I’m feeling fancy, I’ll splurge for a box of cous cous at one of the foreign-import shops. You can stir-fry just about anything and it’s delicious, but this is an alternative for when you’re craving something non-Asian.
Cous cous (not cheap, but a box of it will cover a few meals)
Chick Peas (1 can)
Olive oil (2-3 tbsp)
Cumin (2 tsp)
Tumeric (2 tsp)
Paprika (2 tsp)
Cayenne pepper (1/2 tsp)
Salt (2 tsp)
Ground pepper (to taste)
Cinnamon (1.5 tsp)
Bell peppers (1-2)
Thai eggplant (2-3)
Button mushrooms (I hate them, but go for it)
Onion (1 normal western onion)
White potatoes (3)
Parsley (fresh if available…usually at Citimart and the foreign shops)
Lemon (only available at the foreign shops, but WORTH IT)
I make mine in the rice-pot, but it’s entirely up to you. Follow the directions on the box. I like to add a dash of salt/pepper, and throw in some finely minced parsley after the couscous is finished and fluffed.
I like to roast the vegetables…but then I have an oven, not something many Hanoi apartments boast. If you do too, or if you have one of those counter-top toaster oven things, it’s always better this way. For everyone else, there are some notes on a stove-top version of this at the bottom.
Mince a few cloves of garlic and rough-chop a few tablespoons of parsley. Then chop the vegetables (excluding herbs and garlic) according to size. No need to use all of the veggies mentioned above, I select a variety of these with different textures based on what’s available.
Funfact about roasting vegetables: unless you are roasting all the veggies separately so you can keep track of how long it takes until they’re done, chopping them by size is actually the best way to ensure that they’re all cooked correctly. With dense vegetables like carrot, potato, and kohlrabi you should aim for 1/2 inch, while with less dense things like mushrooms, eggplant, cauliflower and zucchini, you can leave them a bit larger (3/4 to 1-inch).
Mix everything together: vegetables, garlic, herbs, spices. Throw into a roasting pan, drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt/pepper, cover in tin foil. Roast at 400 for 30 minutes. Take off tin foil, add drained (and rinsed) chickpeas, stir, and back into the oven! Check every 10 minutes for the vegetables, testing the kohlrabi because it’s usually the slowest.
When they’re done, sprinkle and a few tbsp more of the fresh parsley, and spoon over the cous cous. Serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy!
Stovetop version: starting with olive oil, onions and garlic, add the items into your sauté pan in order of density (potatoes/kohlrabi first) and estimated cooking time. Chickpeas before tomatoes. When you add the tomatoes, add a few tbsp of water as well if the pans dry-ish, then the spices. With a bit more olive oil, make sure everything is moist and cooked through. Serve over the cous cous with lemon wedges, as with the main recipe.