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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Spicy Cous-Cous Patties with Mint and Fennel Pesto

Spicy Cous-Cous Patties with Mint and Fennel Pesto

Cous-cous with Spicy Tagine is a favorite dinner for the adults in the house. Kids don't care for it much. There's usually some cous-cous leftover, nudging me to reconstitute them into something appetizing the next day.

These cous-cous patties are a nice way to use up leftover cous-cous. Simply add finely diced onions, carrots, bell peppers, maybe some spices like paprika and cumin, perhaps even some chipotle chilles, bind with eggs or bread, form into patties and pan-fry.

Or, shape them into small balls, even flattened balls, and deep fry, like bonda or vada. The deep fried flattened cous-cous balls remind me of one of my favorite street foods in India, Masala Vada, which is usually made with a few different kinds of lentils.

Spicy Cous-Cous Patties with Mint and Fennel Pesto

If I were to indulge à la Owl in Tearwater Tea, I would say the heels, the end-slices, of sliced bread loaves, loathed and discarded cruelly all over, warrant a mention.

Anyway, rather than eggs for binding the cous-cous, I prefer slices of bread, especially the heels, adding a bit of stock or water as needed to be able to shape the patties or balls.

Now, chutneys and pestos flow freely in my kitchen. Chutneys were nothing to write about when I was growing up in India - there were several varieties - any combination of handy edible ingredients, ground together with thought to flavor and texture, becomes a fine condiment to accompany any meal.

In those days, my mom reserved her precious Moulinex Mixer exclusively for delicate handling. All the heavy-duty idlee/dosai batter and chutneys were made using the large mortar-pestle called Aattukkal - The Grinding Stone. Quickly smashed ginger, garlic, black pepper, cumin was done in Ammi kal - a lesser known but just as valued companion of Aattukkal. Ammi kal is very much like the Mano and Matate used in the Americas.

Pesto, to me, bears similarities with the Indian chutneys I grew up with. After all, Pesto is made by quickly grinding the ingredients together in a mortar and pestle. Some favorite nuts, olive oil, fresh herbs, dash of salt/pepper is all it takes to make fresh pesto that has enhanced many a simple dish in our house.

The mint and fennel pesto with sunflower seeds came about thanks to the lovely mint and fennel in the garden that have managed to survive my negligence.

Mint and Fennel Pesto with Toasted Sunflower Seeds
1 cup fresh mint leaves
¼ cup fresh fennel leaves
1 clove of garlic
¼ to 1/3rd cup toasted sunflower seeds
2-4 Tbsp olive oil
hint of water, if needed
salt and black pepper to taste

Simply blend the ingredients together to desired consistency, adjust salt to taste.

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  • At 6:23 PM, Blogger Srividya said…


    Its so funny that I made fennel and mint pesto today since I had them in the garden..and was wondering how it would taste. It tasted wonderful ! and then I saw your post and had to comment

  • At 3:33 AM, Anonymous baby cribs said…

    The pesto is so yummy! I was staring at it and I am drooling.

  • At 8:08 AM, Blogger Dee said…

    Sheela..tried the couscous vadai recipe...was a hit with both Chintu and R. Keep the good things coming :)

  • At 2:20 PM, Blogger Sheela said…

    Srividya:: Like minds, eh? Glad you dropped a note :)

    baby cribs:: Thanks, nice of you!

    Dee:: So glad to hear that Chintu like dit - won't be long before baby D will be ready for it :)


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