We Dominicans love rice, looove it! Some even feel like a lunch isn’t complete without a serving of the grain.
Corn and bulgur make an appearance in our cuisine as rice substitutes. But those are not dishes that are served frequently. I have to be honest, I love rice, but it would bore me to tears if I were to eat it every day. I need variety.
I hadn’t had a good experience with couscous before. Like rice, it has its tricks, so I went the lazy woman’s way and bought pre-cooked couscous (though it still needs cooking), and I already had a pack of sun-dried tomatoes (one of my favorite ingredients) and that’s how this couscous and sun-dried tomatoes tabouleh came about.
We are not the only ones infatuated with rice. We have very similar cuisines to the rest of the Spanish Caribbean. Rice is also served in many a Latin American countries, and we all know the important role it plays in most of Asia, where the consumption of rice per capita is even larger than ours.
Couscous, on the other hand is a traditional Northern African food, a staple food in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya, very popular in France, and occasionally served in some Middle Eastern countries.
Like rice, couscous is a poor source of protein, providing 6 gram per serving (rice provides about 7 grams per serving), but a rich source of of carbohydrates (36 grams compared to 80 grams in rice), and well, little else. So if you are looking for alternatives to lower your carbs consumption, consider trying couscous.
Like rice couscous is a vehicle, with little flavor in itself. It is served with rich sauces and other foods that lend it flavors.
So, if you know tabouleh, you’ll know that it is a very different dish from this. I admit it, but I was inspired by it, and its Dominican cousin, tipili. Couscous and sun-dried tomatoes tabbouleh can be served as a hot dish, or as salad. Both work great. You will love the combination.
I invited Aunt Ilana and family to try my new creation and it was very well received by the grown ups, tolerated by the children, which is the best I could hope for. Really.
- 1/8 cup of olive oil
- 1 large purple onion , diced
- 6 oz [170 grams] of dry tomatoes , chopped
- 2 1/3 cups of boiling-hot water , divided
- 2 cups of pre-cooked couscous
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
- 1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley
Heat the oil in a fairly large saucepan (see notes) over very low heat.
Add the onion and tomatoes. Stir and cover with the lid.
Simmer covered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add water by the tablespoons if it looks like it might burn.
After the 15 minutes, add the couscous, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Add boiling-hot water. Stir to mix well. Cover with the lid.
Remove from the heat and let it rest covered for 20 minutes.
Uncover the pan, fluff the couscous with a fork and mix in the fresh parsley.
This dish is best served at room temperature or slightly warm.
I used an 18" paella pan with a tight-fitting lid. You will need something similar.