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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cous-cous Loaf, Sliced and Pan-fried

Cous-cous Loaf, Sliced and Pan-fried vegetarian Mediterranean fusion

Reconstituting leftovers was one of my mom's specialties. In those days, she believed in cooking a huge meal often because we'd usually have family and friends drop in, and depending on the meal time my mom always insisted on feeding everyone, forcibly if needed. Hospitality culture that I grew up in is simply wonderful. And, as a guest, it is an affront to refuse refreshments/meals offered by the host.

Anyway, so, there were days when a pot full of upma, or a dozen idlees sat around, uneaten. Spoilt brats that we were, we refused to eat leftovers in the same form. So, my mom used to get creative about rehashing the leftovers and making something "new" for us. I am glad I picked up a few pointers from her even if inadvertently.

Cous-cous, plain white rice, noodles, upma - they all lend themselves well to reconstitute for the next day. Rice, of course, is rather easy - they can become coconut rice or lemon rice or mango rice or vangi baath or mint and spinach rice or peas-and-cumin rice... endless possibilities.

Noodle pancake is a great way to use up the extra noodles, not to mention the various noodle salads, casseroles, and noodle soups that they can become.

While not the traditional way, sometimes I make leftover upma into upma kozhakattai.


Cous-cous Loaf, Sliced and Pan-fried vegetarian Mediterranean fusion

While Cous-cous patties and vada are a popular choice at home, these pan-fried slices of cous-cous loaf are enjoyed as well.

Not very different in concept from cous-cous patties, the cous-cous loaf is rather easy to make. Simply sauté any veggies we'd like to add to the plain cooked leftover cous-cous, toss them all together, allow to cool a bit; then, line a bread loaf pan with cling wrap, pack the cous-cous down in there tight, cover with the cling wrap, and leave in the fridge to set for an hour or two up to overnight. Then, slice up the loaf and pan fry them till crisp on the outside. Serve with favorite tomato sauce.

Ingredients
4 to 6 cups of leftover cooked cous cous
vegetables: onions, ginger, garlic, peas, carrots, bell peppers
spices: cumin powder, coriander powder, paprika
canola oil
cling wrap, small loaf pan or any container that could make a roughly rectangular shaped loaf

Preparation
  1. Sauté the vegetables in a tablespoon of canola oil, add the cous-cous and a ¼ cup of water if needed, cover, and allow to cook on low heat for a few minutes till they come together in harmony
  2. Allow to cool a bit and pack it down in a cling wrap lined loaf pan, and let it set in the fridge for a few hours
  3. Unwrap carefully, cut into about 1-inch slices and pan-fry till the outsides are crisp and brown
  4. Serve warm with tomato sauce, with a side of carrot salad

Carrot Salad
grated carrots
finely chopped spring onions
dried cranberries, raisins, walnuts or almond slivers

Combine the salad ingredients and toss with Blue Agave Nectar & Aka Miso Dressing.

Cous-cous Loaf, Sliced and Pan-fried vegetarian Mediterranean fusion

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