Is it really Israeli? – Israeli couscous with curry vegetables
Est-ce vraiment Israélien? – Matfoul aux légumes et curry
I discovered this type of couscous in the US. I had never seen it before, so I started experimenting with it when I had some Israeli clients. I was so happy I found something “Israeli” to cook for them, but when they told me it was not Israeli, I was somehow confused and disappointed. I had no idea about what Israeli cuisine tasted like, I thought due to their geographical location it would have some Middle Eastern flair. In Paris, in the Marais quarter, the historic Jewish area has one of the most popular Felafel joint, called “L’As du Felafel”, so I my mind Felafel and spicy food was common in Israel and I figured that something called “Israeli” should at least be coming from Israel. Apparently not. It’s like the French manicure of French cleaner, not sure why they call it French but we are no specialists in nails nor cleaning!
So Israeli or not Israeli, I like this couscous variety, it’s fun to prepare and great to eat. Couscous is consumed in all Middle East, so I guess it must be coming from that side of the continent. In France it’s called Matfoul which I think is its original Arabic name. I am not Jewish and obviously not kosher but maybe in my previous life I was. I started cooking by not mixing dairy and meat and I have to say that I like it.
This is a great side dish that can be an alternative to rice, or some other carbohydrate dishes. I like to spice it up a little with curry and spices and add vegetables to it, to make it a little more exciting. I have a few cookbooks about Jewish cuisine and I like the simplicity of the recipes and influences coming from so many different countries.
I certainly know that this blog lacks meat recipes but I think the most important thing is to enjoy and take pleasure in whatever you do, cook or eat, no matter what it is. Otherwise there is no point in posting something just for the sake of posting it. I usually serve this couscous with sumac chicken tenders, that has been one of my most requested dish in the “Middle Eastern” category.
Ingredients for 3-4 as a side dish
- 4.2 oz (or 120 g) Israeli couscous
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 small eggplant, diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 3 tbs cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1/2 cup cooked chick peas
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tbs cilantro, chopped
- 1 tbs mint, chopped
First start cooking couscous. Heat olive oil in a pot, add couscous and let it brown and get coated by olive oil like you would proceed for a risotto. Add broth and cook until couscous is tender but not too soft. Drain and set aside.
In a pan, brown shallots, then add the rest of the vegetables except for the chick peas. Add salt and pepper and let it cook until vegetables tender. Add chick peas. Add curry powder. Stir well and cook for about 5 minutes, then add tomatoes. Add couscous and mix well all ingredients together. Adjust with salt and pepper. Add mint and cilantro and serve hot.
- À la va-vite -Tomato and chickpea soup with spices and saute tofu
- Roasted celeriac with mung beans forestière fricassée and tarragon oil
- For the little hole – Oatmeal cookies with cashews and dark chocolate
- Yams and Brussels sprouts napoleon with herbs and red bell pepper jam
- Weird translation – Vegetarian couscous with cauliflower “semoule”
- Polenta cakes with raisin and rum, braised pineapple and pineapple tartare with lime and mint
- East-West – Zucchini and daikon carpaccio with roasted tomatoes and tarrragon coulis
- Encore vegan – Jeanette of wild mushrooms, cauliflower and garlic-herb paste
- More vegan – Layers of spaghetti squash with vegetables and tofu – polenta cakes with herbes de Provence
- As good as it looks – Yams tartine with avocado mash, zucchini tagliatelle and edamame, grey lava salt
I agree, I like to keep my meat and dairy separate. One or the other but not both. I think the flavors come through better and I’m able to enjoy each for their own merits.
I am a big fan of the texture of Israeli couscous and really appreciate your simple preparation.
you are truly amazing that you can cook every origin a league around the world of foods…so creative!
You should check out Kathy Gori’s post about her Hannukah lunch based on the cuisine of the Jewish community in India. Very interesting! There’s also a Jewish community in Ethiopia, and I’d really love to investigate the cuisine.
Love this post, as always! I prefer Israeli couscous actually – funny, I bought some once and I am certain it said it was from Israel. But not Israeli I guess? Who knows!!
Wow…you really good in cooking…
I think this looks so divine and colourful as well! I’ve never taken any Israeli cuisine before. And don’t know much about it too. What is Israeli couscous? Spices?
I think this “coucous” looks so much like a Pasta we have in Malta, a pasta with a great texture which we call “kusksu” ( something like kooohss – kesssoooh). In Malta its most popular traditional use is in a Spring soup with Fava beans.
Or else it could be the Fregula from the Italian island of Sardinia, but I’m going with Kusksu.
If you e mail me I kind send you an image.
I haven’t had Israeli couscous yet. I’m with your on your first paragraph. I could probably try this first with millet. hehe. I know they only look the same but with different textures. I find myself in your situation too that my blog doesn’t contain a lot of meat recipes. Just like you’ve said, there’s no point in posting something just for the sake of posting it.
I haven’t cooked Israeli couscous before, but I’ve always wanted to simply because I adore middle east flavor. Any meat cooked in a tagine is one of my favorites.
Thanks a lot for the delicious yet very simple to make recipe.
I’ve always wondered why it’s called Israeli couscous — I’ve never seen it in Israel. But whatever it’s origins, it really is delicious. And your dish is so colorful and delicious.
Quel beau repas! No matter where it originated, it is such a fun side-dish. Ta recette a l’air tres bonne.
Israeli Couscous is an Israeli invention, and I’m quite amazed that your Israeli guests didn’t know it since it is very common in Israel, but only in private houses. it is not considered “restaurant food”. anyway, thanks for the recipe! looks great
With jews coming from everywhere, with different cooking habits and knowledge, who can use the expression Israeli cuisine ? Such cuisine is all around the world BUT cooking Matfoul is just a palestinian, middle east food culture. You know… Palestine, the place where Palestinian live since centuries and where suddenly Jews decided it was THEIR Land. … and now Matfoul would be Israeli ? Are you joking ? Indian naans are not GB recipes, as well as couscous is not a french recipe but north african one, so goes history and lyers about it.
I am Fred, French, Sfar roots, and above all anticolonialist since I was born.