Recipes | Refreshing Couscous Salad with Fresh Fruits & Veggies Drenched in Orange Juice
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” ~ John Lennon.
I was content with what life offered to me for many years, overlooking the stagnancy it brought in my personal growth. Taking care of children, managing routine household chores kept me ticking, confined in the four walls of my sweet home. And then Lite Bite happened in 2009 and changed the entire perspective of what life is!
My day starts pretty early now and from then begins the game of catch-and-catch between the elusive ‘Time’ and me
But for Lite Bite I would never have ventured into cooking anything out of my comfort zone. For years together semolina or couscous was used to make just a plain Upma for breakfast, a simple Indian dessert ‘Kesari’ or a savory veggie cake. Tried this easy and filling salad from Middle Eastern cuisine and love the simplicity of the recipe. The recipe is from a food show on Discovery channel and I like how light, filling and refreshing the recipe is with the goodness of fruits and Olive oil in it.
Sharing in the same post the ubiquitous breakfast recipe of Upma from South India.
1. Couscous Salad with Fresh Fruits & Veggies Drenched in Orange Juice
A light summer salad to start your day with, it makes a healthy breakfast option and a great accompaniment to any meal. You could use any of the two mentioned ways to prepare the couscous for the recipe.
- 1 cup whole-wheat couscous
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1 small ripe mango
- 1 small red bell pepper
- 1 small orange
- 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
- 2 tbsp. Olive oil
- 1 tbsp chopped mint leaves
- 1 tsp. orange zest
- Salt as desired
Method; Use slightly coarse variety of couscous for this recipe, pearl couscous gives the best results. If you get pre cooked couscous then you need to just soak it in hot water (1:1 ratio) for 5 minutes before using in the recipe. Cook couscous using any of these methods;
- Bring one and a half cup of water to boil. Add couscous in it, cover the vessel and turn off the heat. Let stand for 5-10 minutes till all the water is absorbed. Drain and transfer the couscous in a large bowl.
- Take couscous in a large bowl, add a pinch of salt and mix well. Add 2 tbsp. of Olive oil in the couscous and rub lightly using the tip of your fingers. Place the Olive oil infused couscous in a steamer and steam for 10 minutes, or empty the couscous in a flat plate (preferably with small holes in it), spread it evenly and cover with another plate. Place the perforated plate over a vessel full of water and let the couscous get cooked in the steam for about 15 minutes.
Peel the mango and slice it into tiny cubes. Chop bell pepper into small pieces. Grate the orange and get one tsp. of zest, squeeze out the juice the orange.
Chop mint leaves and walnuts.
Check the couscous and fluff it lightly with a fork.
Mix cubed mango pieces, bell pepper, chopped walnuts, orange zest, salt, olive oil and orange juice and whisk together.
Pour the above dressing in the cooked couscous and stir it gently. Garnish the Couscous Salad with chopped mint leaves and serve chilled.
2. Upma – A Quick & Delicious Indian Breakfast Recipe
- 1 cup Semolina
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- ½ cup vegetables (as desired)
- 1 small onion
- 1 small tomato
- 2 green chilies
- 1 tsp. Bengal-gram
- ½ tsp. mustard seeds
- A few sprigs of curry leaves
- Salt as desired
- 3 cups water
Method; Dry roast semolina or rawa (suji) in a pan till it becomes light brown in color. Peel and chop all the veggies in thin slices or small cubes. Boil water in a separate vessel and keep aside.
Heat oil and crackle mustard seeds (rai) and Bengal gram in a wok or kadai. Add diced green chilies, curry leaves, sliced onion and saute for 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
Add diced tomatoes and any other veggies you wish (fresh peas, carrots, beans, corn goes well with the recipe) and saute for 5-6 minutes on high heat. Keep stirring to avoid burning the veggies. Add dry fried semolina, salt and mix well. Pour hot water in the wok and keep cooking and stirring to avoid lumps in the recipe on high heat for 5 minutes.
Cover and cook the Upma on medium heat for another 5 minutes and put off the flame. Garnish the recipe with fresh coriander leaves if you like.
Serve the Upma hot with any chutney or lentil curry (Sambhar) as a scrumptious and filling breakfast or dinner. Many like to eat Upma with just plain curd/sugar/melted butter and even ripened banana.
The Couscous salad has a perfect blend of sweetness from mangoes & bell pepper and tangy flavor from orange. Roast the bell peppers on flame directly, peel the charred skin and then add the pulp to the recipe for a smoky flavor to the recipe.
- Add crushed black pepper to make the salad spicier.
- Replace orange juice and orange zest with that of lemon for variation.
- Use slightly coarse variety of couscous (Dalia) for the salad recipe and a very fine variety (suji) for the Upma.
- Reduce the quantity of water to 2 cups in Upma recipe to get fluffy texture of cooked semolina.