Moroccan “chicken” with spiced couscous

- 350 gm fake chicken or the real stuff if you prefer - but make sure to cook it properly. - 2 pointed sweet red peppers - 1 medium-large waxy potato - 1-2 scallions or shallots - 1 carrot - 1 can (300gm) chopped tomatoes - 1 lemon - 2 cups couscous - 2 cloves garlic - 1 mild-medium red chilli - 3 sprigs coriander(cilantro) - 10-15 dried apricots - 3 tsp sweet paprika - 1 tsp cinnamon - 1 tsp turmeric - 1 tsp cumin - 1 tsp allspice - 1 tsp honey - olive oil
I used to hate cooking couscous. I'd always mess it up - even boil in the bag couscous would end up like rubber bag-shaped ex-couscous because I'd forget about it when I'd get distracted for a few minutes. Here's how I make it now in a mostly foolproof manner... 1. Put 2 cups dry couscous into a plastic bowl (remember the couscous will swell to nearly twice the size, so pick an appropriate sized bowl). Drizzle a little olive-oil into the dry couscous and add boiling water so the couscous is submerged with about 1-2 mm of water on top (less if it's a very wide bowl). 2. The most important step. Place a fork beside the plastic bowl and put the bowl in your way so you can't help notice it when you're chopping or gathering other ingredients. After a minute or two, most of the water will be absorbed and you should separate the grains of couscous with the fork. If you forget about it and leave it for too long, it will just set a little and take a bit longer to separate, it'll still be fine. The couscous is now "done", but we're not finished with it - you can put it out of your way now, though. On to the rest of the meal... 1. Add some olive oil to a large pan over a medium-high heat and start frying the chicken in it. 2. Cut the potato into a small dice. Rinse in cold water to remove starch. In another pan, add some more olive oil and start frying the potato. 3. Peel and chop the carrot to a small dice. Also cut the apricots into small slivers or even smaller dice. Finely chop the scallion/shallots, then coriander(cilantro), the garlic and chilli. Use a mortar/pestle on the garlic and coriander if you prefer. Chop the peppers coarsely. 4. Add the scallion/shallots to the potato and grind a little black pepper into the pan. Add the apricots, chilli, garlic and coriander to the chicken. Keep stirring both pans to prevent burning. 5. Add the carrot to the potato and add the cumin, allspice and turmeric. Stir for a short while before adding the couscous to the pan. Stir again until the couscous takes on the colour of the spices. Reduce the heat to minimum and cover the pan. 6. Add the peppers to the chicken pan then add the paprika, cinnamon and honey. Stir until the spice mix starts sticking to the larger ingredients. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and stir. Reduce the heat and cover this pan too. 7. Shortly before serving, add about 1/2 cup of water to the couscous pan and stir and add the juice of 1/2 a lemon to the "chicken" pan and stir. Serve and Enjoy.