As a teen, my friends and I used to go to a local sweets shop and eat sweet couscous.
Normally, you find this kind of dessert in any of the small shops and the recipe is normally couscous in sweetened milk topped with grated coconut and some nuts.
I was somewhat craving it, however I needed to turn it both vegan and light.
The answer was in the coconut… the original recipe has coconut after all, so coconut milk made the most perfect sense.
I summoned my creativity and started adding things to the original recipe that I believed will elevate this classic..
To make it lighter, I opted for eliminating the sugar completely.. it’s insane considering the original flavor, but I am trying to keep it at a low these days..
To compensate for it I added honey and some dates to cook with the milk. The dates have natural sweeteners that release within the cooking process into the milk making it sweet as well.
Here are my ingredients for this recipe:
- 1/3 cup fine couscous (1 kilo at 29 LE)
- 2 cups coconut milk (1 liter at 60 LE)
- 100 g mixed nuts (30 LE)
- 2 tbsp shredded coconuts
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 cloves (or 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves)
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg according to taste
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tbsp honey
- 3 – 5 dates (dried)
Step one: Simmer the coconut milk:
in a sauce pan simmer 1 cup of the coconut milk together with the spices, vanilla and honey.
Cut all your dates into dice and throw them in too and simmer for 5-7 minutes on low.
Meanwhile, put your couscous with half of the shredded coconuts in a bowl, preferably out of glass.
Mine was too little so I used my loyal metal bowl that used to be once the rotating bowl of my grandma’s stand mixer that turned into my token of good luck.
Step two: roast the nuts:
or fry them up in some coconut oil…it’s really up to you.
I truly appreciate the taste of fried nuts – most of all when in butter- but I am trying to convince myself otherwise, so I roasted them by spreading them flat on a hot pan and keeping the flame dimmed beneath to slowly release their essential oils.
This is a store-bought mix (Gourmet, 30 LE) that contained peanuts, cashews, golden and red raisins, pumpkin seeds and almonds.. I added the remaining shredded coconut here too.
It takes around 4-5 minutes until the place smells like roasted nuts and the coconut turns golden.
Set aside to cool.
Step three: Cooking the couscous:
pour the simmering coconut milk mixture onto the couscous and rapidly seal the bowl with cling film. Set aside for 15 minutes.
Step four: Nuts:
Fifteen minutes later the mixture will have absorbed the coconut milk, so fluff it with a fork and add most of the nuts in, keeping some for the topping.
At this stage it looks and feels like porridge.. it can be eaten this way already.
But how I remember it from the store, it had a lot of milk 🙂
Here’s where the additional cup of coconut milk comes in.. it has to simmer first then be added gradually and the mixture stirred to loosen.
It is not necessary that the whole cup will be needed.. add gradually and stop at the consistency you feel you like.
Finally, top it off with the remaining nuts and enjoy hot