Cous Cous a la 'Pohe'
' As easy as it is to pack on the pounds, it is as difficult to shed it. '
While its easy to use the above line as an excuse, there is no mistaking the fact that putting on weight is not an overnight process. It took me over 2 years and a liberal dose of happy go lucky noshing (on my own creations) to pack on 25 lbs (& thanks to Weight Watchers, it had taken me just 3 months to lose the same amount which I managed to keep off even through a pregnancy & childbirth. ). Through all the dissections of what is good and what is bad, emerges one indubitable fact: Carbohydrates are highly addictive and the take home message is to try and shed the cravings. (which is easier said than done!)
Personally, It turns out that rice is my bogeyman. Its been quite easy to restrict myself to 2 phulka roties (Plain chapati made w/o any ghee brushed on) whenever I make them for a meal, but with rice, any fledgling thought of trying to measure out portions is automatically suppressed by 'god knows what' gluttony center in my brain! As hard as it is to resist the aroma of fresh rice, I'm training myself to avoid it all together, except as a 'treat' once in two weeks. Results: 3 lbs down in 2 weeks without any other restrictions!
Aloo Poha (flattened rice with sauteed potatoes) is an irresistible beloved breakfast dish in western India.
Thanks to a series of photographs posted by Chef Suvir Saran on Facebook yesterday, the temptation to indulge in rice (in its alternate, yet equally addictive form -- Poha or flattened rice). Maybe it was a stroke of luck that all I had on hand was about 2 tablespoons of scrappy poha crumbs in a big empty bag and right next to it was a pack of tricolored cous cous that I had picked up at Kalustyans over the weekend.
I found myself savoring a perfectly delicious healthy lunch while satisfying the craving for the traditional flavors of Aloo poha.
This is definitely one proverbial cake I could have AND eat!
Cous Cous a la 'Pohe' (makes ~ 3 generous servings, ~ 5 Weight watchers plus points)
1 cup uncooked cous cous
1 cup finely diced red onion (or Shallots)
1 cup peeled and diced potato
1 cup diced sweet peppers
1.5 tablespoon sesame or olive oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 pinch asafetida
1 birds eye chili, sliced
1 teaspoon minced ginger root
1 sprig curry leaf, torn
Kosher Salt to taste
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Chopped Cilantro for garnish
juice of 1/2 a lime.
Add about 1/2 inch of water in a wide pan (an Indian pressure cooker pan works great) and place a steamer basket. Place the cous cous on a fine sieve and thoroughly drench with cold water. Place the sieve over the steamer basket. Cover and allow the cous cous to cook via the steam, occasionally fluffing the grains with a fork (~ 10-15 minutes). Keep covered until needed. you should have about 1 1/2 cups of cooked grains.
Heat the oil in a skillet until it shimmers. Add the mustard and cumin. Once the mustard pops and the cumin seeds split, lower the heat and add the birds eye chile, ginger, asafetida and curry leaves. give it a quick stir and then quickly add the onions. as the onions turn translucent, add the potatoes and the sweet pepper. Sprinkle some water if necessary to the mix, Lower the heat, cover the pan and allow the potatoes and the peppers to cook thorough. Add the salt, combine thoroughly and adjust for seasonings.
Add the fluffed up couscous and the toasted slicedalmonds and fold gently into the vegetable mix until it is well combined with the other ingredients. Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with the lime / lemon juice and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve warm.