Israeli couscous is actually a type of ‘pasta’ made from wheat. The key to making it delicious is toasting it before cooking in the same way that you cook risotto, by the absorption method. If you’re making this for a large number of people, you may prefer to toast the couscous in the oven.
Hijiki is just one of the fabulous family of edible seaweed – it is jet-black and comes in dried form from Japanese and health food shops. If you can’t locate any, try arame – another more readily available seaweed.
Tofu – the ingredient that most chefs (macrobiotics aside) despise – is a really delicious ingredient. It lends itself to other flavours and provides an interesting texture to many dishes. Fresh tofu is called silken tofu, but you can also find firm and soft tofu vacuum-packed at most health food stores – and the difference is that one is firmer than the other. For frying purposes, use the firm type. Here the tofu is flavoured with a Japanese spice mixture that you’ll also be able to source from Japanese food stores.
Heat a saucepan and add
Place the remaining olive oil in the pan and, when it’s hot, add the onion. Cook over a moderate heat to caramelize, stirring frequently. Then add the garlic and hijiki, and cook for a further minute, stirring.
Return the couscous to the pan, pour in the hot water and
Cut the tomatoes into wedges and mix into the couscous with the parsley and spring onions, then taste and season.
Slice the tofu into cubes
Cook the aubergine in several batches in the same oil and, when it’s golden, remove and drain.
Once the tofu and aubergine have cooled to body temperature, toss with the mint leaves and lime zest and juice, and season lightly with salt.
Divide the couscous salad between 4 plates or bowls and scatter the beans on top, then divide the tofu salad on top and finish with the sprouts and a lime wedge on the side.
© 2005 Peter Gordon. All rights reserved.