Healthy Food Guide Chicken thighs with dukkah couscous salad
Now that spring is upon us - along with the new season's asparagus - here is a recipe using those tender little green veggies along with some of that fragrant Egyptian nut and spice mix.
Dukkah isn't just for dipping oil-soaked bread into! This traditional Egyptian condiment is a fragrant mix of ground nuts, spices and herbs that can lend its flavour to many dishes. There are lots of different recipes for dukkah, but they all usually contain the basic ingredients of hazelnuts, sesame seeds, ground coriander and cumin. You can either search online and make one to your own tastes, or try a few of the many available pre-made to find one you like.
It may seem a little strange to include dates in the salad, but they are another traditional addition to Middle Eastern savoury dishes, and are a delicious counterpoint to the spicy flavours of the dukkah. You can either use the dried dates you find in the baking aisle at the supermarket, or splash out and buy and few of the soft, less-dehydrated Medjool dates (often found in the produce section, these still contain the pit of the date). Be careful though, you may be a convert!
Unlike the finer instant couscous, the Israeli couscous needs to be cooked, but it gives a more sturdy texture to the salad - and I find it far less messy to deal with in the kitchen! I seem to be able to get the instant couscous everywhere... If you were to use Israeli couscous in other recipes, you may want to add a little flavour to the cooking water, in the form of a salt-reduced stock for example, as it can taste a little plain. With this recipe, the flavours from the dukkah take care of that.
Another great thing about this recipe is that it is ready in super-quick time! I admit I often gravitate to the Healthy Food Guide's "5pm panic" recipe section when I'm doing my weekly meal planning. You don't need to spend ages in the kitchen to serve up a healthy and tasty meal.
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