Friday, January 25, 2013

Couscous Cakes

There are crab cakes and corn cakes, rice cakes and potato cakes, zucchini cakes and funnel cakes, hot cakes and chocolate cakes; but have you ever tried couscous cakes?

In this completely customizable, quick recipe, cooked couscous is mixed with a few favorite ingredients, an egg, some flour, then formed into patties and pan fried for a side dish that is fun and flavorful. If you like couscous as much as I do, then you’ll love trying it this way.

Starting with a delicious couscous mixture is of course the secret to making a delicious couscous cake. My add-ins include crunchy toasted almonds, sweet dried cranberries, feta cheese, and fragrant citrus and herbs. As with any recipe, feel free to get creative and use whatever you like, but I’m telling you mine is pretty good.

The egg and flour help to hold the couscous together so that the mixture can easily be formed into patties, but the patties are still fairly fragile and need to be handled carefully when being cooked. A fish spatula is just the right tool for the job; they are specifically designed to handle delicate foods (hence, fish), and will help to keep your patties intact.

The couscous cakes become crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside when fried, with a lightly toasted taste. They are a great way to add excitement to a light meal, and go especially well with chicken dishes.

Couscous Cakes
Yield: 10 cakes
- 1 cup water
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ¾ cup couscous
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
- ¼ cup chopped scallions
- ¼ chopped cilantro
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ½ cup orange juice
- Zest from 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, beaten
1) In a small saucepan, bring the water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the couscous. Immediately remove from the heat and cover until all the water has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Cool.
2) Add the cranberries, almonds, scallions, cilantro, feta cheese, orange juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper; mix well. Add the flour and egg; mix well. Form the mixture into small patties about 2” wide.
3) Heat the remaining olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Cook the couscous cakes until golden brown, then carefully flip (a fish spatula works best) and cook other side, about 2 minutes per side.


Rosemary said...

I've made all kinds of cakes, all the ones you mention -- and then some. I recently wrote about my spaghetti squash cakes. But I've never tried couscous. The feta and cranberries sound like great additions. Thanks.

Koci said...

That sounds so yummy! I love couscous already, so the idea of eating it in delicious, golden-brown cake form sounds even better!