The weekday task list often rears its head like a behemoth at one, greedy for attention and conscientious execution, but when it’s time for the groceries, a small wave of delight rises in one, considering the samples stations one is sure to encounter along the course. While the fresh greens and sprouts endure a gentle mist to keep them gleaming, one bags some lettuce, broccoli rabe, and dill, turns around and there it is, an inviting chip and dip station that probably just got a refill. A multigrain chip with a slick scoop of luscious mango salsa seems fresh and rejuvenating only until the unpedicured feet straggle along to the dairy section, where, while picking out the fruity Yoplaits for the little one’s lunch bag, and Kefir for the workaholic husband’s breakfast smoothies, the eyes invariably come to rest on the array of Gelato varieties, and within a moment’s notice, the eager hands are cupping a medium bowl with scoopfuls of Tropical coconut, topped by tiramisu flavors. Unwilling to waste any time lest the creamy treat turns runny, one skedaddles past the world foods lunch section, taking hurriedly in the smells of roasted curried cauliflower, pasta primavera, chicken kabobs, and an Israeli couscous mix that is redolent, even if detectably, of our very own sabudana khichdi, or pearl tapioca Pilaf, for the uninitiated. Lodging the bagged goods at the counter, with one hand still holding a grip on the Gelato, one grabs a pack of couscous for a fun little experiment to come, and gets out of there just in time to enjoy the Gelato between signals, knowing that the next doodad on the list will gnarl at one momentarily. As for the experiment, it turned out to be rather fun and flavorful, and is recorded herewith.
- 2 Tablespoons light olive oil
- 1/2 Teaspoon cumin
- A dash of turmeric
- 1 Red onion, sliced thin and long
- 2-3 Pods of garlic, crushed or grated
- 1-2 Bay leaves
- 1 Red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized nibbles
- 1/2 Cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
- 1/2 Cup frozen baby lima beans, thawed
- 1/4 Teaspoon garam masala
- 1/4 Teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1 Packet of Israeli couscous (8 oz, or 1 cup)
- 1 1/4 Cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/4 Cup crushed roasted peanuts to sprinkle on top
In a fairly large pan, warm the oil and add the cumin, followed, once it crackles, by turmeric and onion, garlic and bay leaves. Fry for a minute or two, then add the red bell peppers, corn and lima beans. Saute until they cook up a bit, then add the spices, and the couscous, frying on a low flame until the couscous turns light brown. Add the liquid, salt, and let cook, covered, until the couscous is done and the liquid has been absorbed. Before serving, top with crushed peanut powder.