Follow directions on the packaging for the couscous, which will typically recommend using one and a half parts boiling water to one part couscous. Pour over the couscous in three steps. Allow to steep briefly each time and fluff with a fork in order for the grains to separate. Transfer to a large bowl, the couscous will swell considerably. (If using quinoa or burghul, soak well until soft or follow directions on the packets.)
Toast the nuts in a dry frying pan until they begin to colour. Taste whether the couscous is cooked. Wash the herbs and chop them. Stir them through the couscous with the nuts and raisins.
Prepare the mayonnaise: crush the cardamom seeds into powder in a mortar. Combined with the other ingredients and toward the end stir the oil in a thin trickle through the dressing until it thickens.
Stir the dressing through the couscous and keep in a covered bowl until served.
(You can easily make this side dish a day in advance, but do put it in the refrigerator overnight).
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