Thursday, December 3, 2009

Recipe: Szechuan Spiced Israeli Couscous with Infused with Dried Shiitake

~ Szechuan Spiced Israeli Couscous with Infused with Dried Shiitake ~

An Asian flavoured vegan side dish that is a perfect addition to your holiday dinner!

This recipe is an extension to a previous post:
Where a mushroom intertwines with the receptor of the fifth taste....the Dried Shiitake and the Mysterious Umami....

1 lb package Israeli couscous
1 lb Frozen edamame, defrosted and shelled
8-10 Dried whole shiitake
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tbs Toasted sesame seeds
2 tbs Toasted sesame seed oil
2-3 tbs Szechuan Chili Bean Paste
1 tsp Szechuan peppercorn
3-4 tbs Chinese chicken marinate sauce (this is vegan)
1 tsp sugar
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
12 Sweet roasted chestnut - optional

1. Soak the dried shiitake in ~1 cup of COLD water overnight, then squeeze out the excess liquid from the reconstituted shiitake and slice thinly.
*Do not discard the soaking liquid, as it has now been infused with the luring aroma of the shiitake, which will be used later to cook the Israeli couscous
2. In a 4-6 quart pot, heat the Toasted sesame seed oil in medium heat, then add the sliced shiitake.
3. Stir fry the shiitake till lightly golden, then add the smashed garlic and Szechuan peppercorn and toast them until golden.
4. Stir in the Israeli couscous and allow it to toast for 2 minutes, turn the heat to high then add the amount of liquid as instructed on the package (use the shiitake soaking liquid plus water). Cover and allow it to come to a rapid boil.
5. Reduce heat so the mixture returns to a simmer. Stir occasionally with spoon and cook until the Israeli couscous has absorbed all the cooking liquid and has become al-dente.
6. Mix in the defrosted shelled edamame and allow it to heat with couscous for 2 minutes.
7. Stir in the marinate sauce and chili bean paste and allow the couscous to absorb the sauce for about 1-2 minutes.
8. Remove from heat and stir in the toasted sesame seeds and sweet roasted chestnuts.
* I think the sweetness and the chewy texture from the luscious chestnuts give this side dish a special touch and an unique sensory experience!

Bon Appetit!

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