Harissa-Flavored “Chicken” with Couscous

I’m sorry for the lack of posts lately. I’ve been working late nearly every night (I haven’t been working more than usual, I’ve just been too lazy to get out of bed at a decent hour!), I’ve been buying and “wrapping” Christmas gifts, and I’ve been thinking about going back to school and consequently studying for the GRE. I haven’t been spending as much time as I like in the kitchen, I’m afraid. I did spend all day on Saturday in the kitchen, helping my best friend Fortinbras bake cookies and focaccia for his family and I took a million pictures, but Fortinbras is actually going to write up a guest post for that entry – and share his delicious peanut butter cookie recipe – so we need to wait until he’s sufficiently motivated to do it. I’m sure it will be hilarious – he is an extremely entertaining individual – and worth the wait.

As I was driving home from work tonight, among a million other things I had to think about, I was pondering what very quick meal I could make, preferably one that would yield leftovers for lunch tomorrow and decided that couscous was in order. With just that to go on, I ended up whipping up something that was very fast, quite delicious, and dead easy. Once again, I hadn’t intended to post it because I was starving and just wanted to get it made and in my stomach, but then I got the camera out to shoot my first taste of my homemade sauerkraut (it’s been three weeks today!) and realized it would only take a couple of minutes to photograph what I was making for dinner and then I could put the recipe up if it turned out. Which it did, so I will. (The sauerkraut was fine, but that’s a post for tomorrow or Wednesday.)

Harissa-Flavored “Chicken” with Couscous

2 cups Soy Curls
1 1/2 cups vegan “chicken” stock”
1 small or 1/2 large onion, sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 red chili pepper, minced
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas
1 1/2 Tbsp harissa seasoning (I have a dry harissa seasoning that I thought I got at Penzey’s but now I don’t see it on their website so maybe I got it elsewhere, or just use the more common harissa paste or sauce, to taste)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat the “chicken” broth to nearly boiling, add the Soy Curls, and cover for 5 minutes or until Soy Curls are soft. Drain, reserving the broth.

Heat some olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and fry for 5 minutes or until beginning to take on a golden color.

Add the garlic and chili pepper. Fry for another minute.

Add the bell pepper and fry for two minutes. (This step is not pictured because the bell pepper I used was already sauteed by Fortinbras on Saturday for focaccia and leftover in my refrigerator, so I added it later.) Add the Soy Curls and fry for a few minutes.

Add the chickpeas and reserved broth.

Stir in the harissa, cumin, and cinnamon. I also added my pre-sauteed bell peppers at this point.

Bring to a boil and let simmer for 5-10 minutes or until broth is almost completely reduced. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with couscous. For the couscous, I used Isreali, which is much larger than ordinary couscous. I basically followed the cooking instructions in Veganomicon, but instead of the apricots and pistachios (neither of which I had on hand), I mixed in some tomatoes that I had leftover and needed to use up and some green bell pepper pieces, as well as salt and pepper. It was very Christmasy.

This was really good and done within half an hour, which by my standards is pretty fast. I was also doing a bunch of other things at the same time, like feeding the cats, tasting my sauerkraut, etc., so the half hour cooking time seemed like nothing. I will definitely make this again when I need a very fast, easy, filling meal. Mark was on a call for work when I served it, so I didn’t get a statement from him about the taste, however, he did gesture his approval and got seconds when no one on the call was talking to him. Brachtune filled in for him while he was away from the phone. (Brachtune enjoys talking to people on speaker phone. Our cuckoo clock also likes to go off at inopportune times when we are on work calls. It’s like a circus over here sometimes.) I also have plenty for a tasty lunch tomorrow!

Now I’m off to go harass Fortinbras about making his post…


  1. Lovliebutterfly Said,

    December 16, 2008 @ 3:13 pm

    That looks awesome and sounds so tasty! I’ve never used harissa before, I have to get some at the Asian stores over here!

  2. renae Said,

    December 17, 2008 @ 1:24 am


    Harissa is pretty handy to have around because it’s an easy way to provide a great flavor. If you can’t find it, it’s also easy to make; here’s a recipe: http://mideastfood.about.com/od/dipsandsauces/r/harissa.htm.

  3. Lovliebutterfly Said,

    December 19, 2008 @ 7:31 pm

    Oh! Cool! I’ve bookmarked it. Thanks!

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