Introduction: Crispy Couscous Croquettes
Take regular boxed instant couscous to the next level by making it crispy! Frying up croquettes from couscous requires very little effort and literally comes together by itself. They come out light and crisp without requiring breading or batter. Serve on its own with a little sour-cream, marinara or salsa, as an appi or make them a little bigger and serve as a veggie burger.
The process is very simple, prepare your boxed couscous as per directions on the box and combine the cooked but cooled couscous with some egg, flour and mozzarella as a binder. Add a handful of thinly sliced green onion and shape into patties, balls or what ever shape you like. Gently shallow fry for 2-3 minutes per side and plate. The actual making of the croquettes, patties or what ever you want to call them takes just a couple minutes, but the results are just crazy. You will find yourself making extra couscous just to take advantage of this recipe.
Depending on what brand or flavour you have, they are all start with instant couscous. This is what we typically find in North America, it has been pre-steamed and dried and is is typically prepared by adding 1.5 measures of boiling water or stock to each measure of couscous then leaving covered tightly for about five minutes.
Instant couscous makes for a super quick side dish, traditionally couscous though, not so much:
As per Wikipedia, “Couscous is traditionally made from the hard part of the durum, the part of the grain that resisted the grinding of the millstone. The semolina is sprinkled with water and rolled with the hands to form small pellets, sprinkled with dry flour to keep them separate, and then sieved. Any pellets that are too small to be finished granules of couscous fall through the sieve and are again rolled and sprinkled with dry semolina and rolled into pellets. This labor-intensive process continues until all the semolina has been formed into tiny granules of couscous.”
Thank goodness, my recipe calls for simple instant couscous. Like almost any boxed food, couscous can be made so much better with just a few more simple steps and additions. Yes, your 5-minute couscous is now 10-minute couscous, but wow what a difference. Enhancing the flavour of the couscous now embeds flavour into the grains as it cooks. Read the next couple quick steps to get started.
- 1 box of instant couscous, or equal to 1 cup uncooked. Can be flavored or plain. Little tip, you don't really need the flavored variety if you follow my instructions and you will have a much healthier dish with out all the preservatives from the seasonings. Also a plain box has almost twice as much couscous then a flavored box - win win!
- Butter or olive oil
- 1/2 Green pepper - diced
- 1/2 onion - diced
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 bunch of green onions
- Optional, oregano, parsley and a small pinch of saffron (about 8 fronds)
- Oil to fry with, peanut or avocado oil is good, no to corn oil or olive oil. The amount will depend on your pan size, but oil depth should be about 3/4 of an inch
Step 1: Prepare the Couscous
It all starts with aromatics and takes blasé post-industrial boxed food stuffs to foodie heaven.
- Finely dice half an onion and half a green pepper. Yes, Green pepper, sure red peppers are sweeter, but what you’re looking here for is body, not sugar. The humble green pepper is packed with body and a touch of bitterness which will round out the other flavours.
- Splash a little olive oil in a small pot that has a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add your onions and peppers and sauté until you smell the peppers.
- At this point you can add other enhancers. I always add a couple cloves of garlic, a pinch of saffron & oregano with a hand full of minced parsley, stir in and sauté for 30 seconds more.
- If you are using Couscous that has flavours added already in the form of dried spices and stock just add the amount of water listed on the box and bring to a boil.
- If your using plain instant couscous you can add 1.5 cups of water, but better yet is 1.5 cups of chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
- Add your 1 cup measure of instant couscous, stir, cover and take off the heat and steam for 5 minutes.
- Open, fluff with a fork and if desired add a couple tablespoons of salted butter and fluff again. Yes, the butter is optional, but it makes the dish POP.
- If your just serving couscous as a side dish, well your done. But this instructable is about making it sooooo much better. Allow the couscous to cool down a bit and plop in your fridge to chill for a bit.
Step 2: Chop, Shred, & Mix
Chop your green onion finely and place in a bowl.
Add one egg and about 2 tablespoons of white flour.
Dump in your cooled couscous and shredded mozzarella.
Mix with a fork until well combined. The work with your clean hands kneading it a bit to condense the ingredients tightly.
Step 3: Form Your Patties
With wet hands form patties about 3 inches across and about 3/4 of an inch high. As I make then I lay them on a piece of parchment paper for easy clean up. When you form them try to compact them a bit and shape just like you might a thick burger. They are a little fragile, but will hold up well when they hit the oil.
Step 4: Shallow Fry
Heat up your oil over medium high heat. I'd love to give you an exact temperature, but as I am thermometer challenged, I just submerge a chopstick or popsicle stick in the oil. When little bubbles furiously rise out of the wood, your good.
- Gently lay the patties in the oil with at least an inch of space between the neighboring patty.
- Fry for about 2-3 minutes per side until golden brow.
- drain on paper towel promptly and serve hot.
- left overs heat up nicely heat up nicely in the oven.
Step 5: Crunch Crunch, Nom Nom
These are so yummy. The couscous gets so nice and crisp and stays crisp for hours! When you break these bad boys apart the green onion scent hits you with a vibrant summer flavour. So good, and so easy.
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