Some Tunisian Tastes – Part 2 – Blackened Pepper Couscous

Yesterday, I presented you with the Tunisian steak and harissa Some Tunisian Tastes – Part 1 – Steak With Harissa, but we all know we can’t live on just steak alone, although I think Larry probably could. 🙂 There has to be some side dishes that go with the steak too. I like keeping in theme as much as I can when cooking ethnic dishes, so of course my side dishes were Tunisian as well.

My first side dish was my Tunisian blackened pepper couscous. Couscous is the national dish of Tunisia, as well as Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Mauritania. It is thought that the original name of couscous (Arabic: كسكس) could have come from the Arabic word kaskasa, which means “to pound in small pieces” or from the Berber word seksu, which means “rounded” or “well rolled”. It is called kousksi in Tunisiataamkosksi or kesksu in Algeriaseksu in Morocco, and maftoul in Jordan and Lebanon. It is also used in Sicily where it is known as cuscusu.

There are different types of couscous that are available, depending on location. In Tunisia, the small couscous “pellets” are more readily available, and thus are more traditional for their dishes. However, in many other countries, the larger “pearls” are more abundant. I like them both and use them both. It depends on how I am using them and what i am using them for, but I actually prefer the larger pearl couscous to the smaller pellets for the most part.

For this particular couscous dish, I found some fun tri-colored pearl couscous. I had never seen that before, so of course when I saw it, I just had to try it. 🙂

I toasted it first in a skillet with just a dab of olive oil to give it more of a nutty taste. Then I cooked it according to the package directions.

Blackened Pepper Couscous

1/2 roasted red pepper, seeded, rinsed and diced

1/2 roasted orange pepper, seeded, rinsed and diced

1/2 roasted yellow pepper, seeded, rinsed and diced

1 TBSP garlic

1 cup uncooked pearl couscous

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

2 TBSP lemon olive oil, optional

2 TBSP olive oil

1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

Cook the toasted couscous according to the package directions.

Combine the peppers, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oils and parsley and gently toss together.

When the couscous is ready, add it to the pepper mixture and toss together well. Serve warm or at room temperature to really enhance the flavors of the dish. This recipe is good on its own, or served with any kind of grilled meat.

Have a great day and make everyday great. Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.


Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for over 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

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