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Couscous Cakes with Mast-o-Khiar

January 13, 2013

JANUARY 12th, 2013 — The appetizer of a “cake-themed” meal I prepared for friends (which was great because that involved having 3 sous-chefs). The cucumber-yogurt dip, more commonly known as tzatziki, as a topper worked to continue the Mediterranean / Middle Eastern theme. Originally in the menu I had indicated that it was mast-o-khiar, which I believe is the Farsi name for the cucumber-yogurt dip when served in Iran, the reason being that I was going to serve the appetizer topped with dried fruit and nuts–a Persian method of preparation.

Couscous Cake

Photo credit to Zoe Sandoval

So what did you do?
First my friend Cat and I prepared the yogurt dip, the recipe for which you can find here, in a previous blog post from over the summer.

For the cakes, I looked up a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis and made the necessary alterations.
First, I cooked 2 dry cups of whole-wheat couscous with 2.5 tbsp of butter. I didn’t really measure what it finally came out to be–probably 6 cups or so. Left it to chill.

When it came time to mix, I had my friend Mimi assemble the cakes with:
-2 tsp cumin
-3 beaten eggs
-2 tsp garlic salt
-6 tbsp flour
-dried basil and ground black pepper, to taste (that I dashed in from the side)

Make the patties with your hands and drop them into a skillet until crispy with a golden brown crust.

For assemblage, spoon on the cucumber-yogurt dip, and then some za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice of thyme and sesame seeds), and top finally with some dried fruit and nuts. (In this case I just poured out some cashew, almond, and cranberry trail mix.)

Made a great and light-tasting appetizer.

Lessons learned?
I think I may have forgotten to tell Mimi to put in the flour. Heh heh. That’s probably why it had such a hard time sticking to a ball shape. Adding another egg probably would have helped.

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