Taboulé

Aujourd’hui, I finally tried a recette that I’ve been yearning to attempt ever since I took that first forkful of Mamie‘s recette.

It was a breezy, clear summer evening with the sun starting its descent into dreamland. We watched the sunset at Parc de la Torse. At Parc de la Torse, mon chéri and I made ourselves comfortable among the 20 or so American and Canadian study abroad students and their French host families. It was the last pot-luck pic-nic before most of these students were to return back to the US. His grandma, Mamie, loaded a paper plate full of home-made goodies and handed it to me. Needless to say, I was in heaven. I took a bite of her version of Taboulé and I was hooked. I’ve had other store-bought versions; however, as with everything Mamie makes, her version was by far the best.  I was determined to try the recette.

It took a couple of months before I dared to try it. I put it off for so long because I thought it would be very time consuming. Thankfully, I was wrong. In fact, the recette took about 25 minutes. Taboulé is a very convenient dish because it can be simple or complex. It’s a dish that enables the chef to use ingrédients he/she already has available (which is good if you don’t have a lot of time or money to buy tons of ingrédients) or to buy ingrédients. Also, there’s usually enough for 4 meals. A relaxed liste d’ingrédients  + 4 meals = on budget for this happy AIXpat.

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*In general, I cook for 2 – unless otherwise noted.

Les ingrédients:

  • 1 poivron rouge, or red pepper
  • 1 poivron vert, or green pepper
  • 1 echalote, or shallot (you can substitute 1 oignon)
  • 2 cloves of l’ail, or garlic
  • 1 cup of menthe, or mint
  • 1 tomate
  • 1 can of petit pois, or peas
  • 1 carotte
  • 1 concombre
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • 2 table spoons d’huile d’olive, or olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon de sel, or salt
  • ½ teaspoon d’aneth, or dillweed
  • ½ teaspoon de poivre, or ground pepper (black pepper or white pepper work fine)
  • 2 tablespoons of jus de citron, or lemon juice
  • 150-200 grams of couscous

Les Consignes (directions):

First, start by filling a pot with couscous and water. If you are using couscous from a box, follow the instructions on the box. It usually takes couscous about 5 minutes to cook. You’ll know it’s done when you use a fork to see if it moves easily or if it sticks together. The latter one signifies that it’s not quite done yet, while the first one tells you that it’s done.

Second, while the couscous is cooking, start dicing the vegetables and then place them in another pot. Put huile d’olive in the same pot. Cook the vegetables for 5-10 minutes or until they start becoming a little bit soft. *Note: it is important that you choose vegetables that pair well together. Also, I used what I found in the fridge, but you don’t have to use that many vegetables. The two most important things are: the couscous and the menthe.

Third, once the couscous is finished, place it in a large mixing bowl.

Lastly, once the vegetables are finished, place them in the same mixing bowl as the couscous. Then, add the sel, poivre, aneth, and jus de citron. Mix well. After it’s been mixed, place in the refrigerator for about 3 hours to let the juices mix into the couscous. After that, bon appétit!

**For added protein, dice turkey, chicken, or porc. Then, cook it. Once it’s finished mix it in with the couscous and the vegetables. ♦

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Raïta au melon et au concombre

Aujourd’hui, I tried a recette for a raïta, an Indian sauce consisting of yogurt and vegetables/fruit, to complement côtelettes d’agneau au cari, aka lamb chops with curry. This recette is called Raïta au melon et au concombre. The recette took about 20 minutes to complete. I made it while the côtelettes d’agneau au cari was in the Cocotte Minute, or pressure cooker.

You might be wondering why I chose an Indian sauce – I’m in France, after-all. So, why not choose a more French-like sauce. Well, similarly to American cuisine, French cuisine also borrows meal ideas from outside the country. This just might be the most important cultural lesson Ever: the US is not the only “melting pot” in the world. In fact, Marseille, was deemed the cultural center of Europe in 2013. And, judging by the faces of the locals as well as the unofficial and official quartier names, it still holds this title. With the variety of people living in France, there’s bound to be a swap in ideas. In fact, I nabbed this recette from a French citoyen, or citizen, not from a citoyen of Inde, or India.

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*In general, I cook for 2 – unless otherwise noted.

Les ingrédients:

  • ½ melon, or cantaloupe (melon miel, or musk melon, will also work)
  • ½ concombre, or cucumber
  • 125g (or 1 individual cup) of yaourt nature 2%, or 2% plain yogurt (the percentage doesn’t really matter, but I used 2%)
  • échalote, or shallot (the échalote offers a better flavor than a purple onion, but a purple onion is better than no onion)
  • 1 tablespoon of coriandre fraîche, or chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon de sel, or salt
  • ½ teaspoon de poivre, or ground pepper (black pepper or white pepper work fine)
  • ½ teaspoon d’aneth, or dill weed

Les Consignes (directions):

First, remove all of the seeds from the melon. Then, remove the skin. I used a sharp knife to cut the melon into long, thin slices before removing the skin. I found this to be the easiest and less messy way to remove the skin. This recette only calls for ½ of the melon, so, if you’re not sure about what to do with the other ½, then you can save it for dessert.

Second, peel the échalote. 

Third, cut the melon, concombre, and échalote into small cubes and then mix them together in a bowl.

Fourth, add the yaourt nature to the fruit and vegetable mixture. Mix them together.

Fifth, chop the coriandre fraîche and then add it to the bowl. Mix.

Lastly, add the sel, poivre, and aneth to the bowl and mix. Then, serve.

Who knew that melon with vegetables and yaourt would taste so good? I had my doubts at first, but, I’m so glad I tried this recette!

**This recette is great because there will be left-over sauce. As the Aixoises, or French Aix locals, tell me, some portion of all of the recettes used in the south always incorporate a “left-over”. Mon chéri and I used this sauce with côtelettes d’agneau for one meal, and then had left-over sauce for 2 additional meals. We paired this sauce with des pâtes, or noodles, and then again with riz, or rice. It complemented both; however, I preferred it paired with the riz. That stereotype about French meals including small portion sizes is wrong. Very wrong. Especially since we weren’t the only couple to have had left-overs for 2 additional meals. ♦