Busy Bites: My fried couscous balls with an awesome white sauce.

by cookingbrains09

fried balls - IMG_3403

Summer food can be ever so simple, but it will always be rewarding. For me a nice summer party doesn’t take much more than a few quick snacks, some chilled drinks and some family or friends. My fried couscous balls with an awesome white sauce are surprisingly light, despite all the frying, and rewarding. Crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside, they go extremely well with my crème fraîche and yoghurt sauce. This is summer the way I like it. Fast, easy and fresh.

Another short post, for another hot and busy day. We had a party yesterday and lots and lots of left-over couscous. I love cooking with what’s left over, because some ingredients taste a whole lot different the next day. They become different things. What was a bowl of fluffy and coarse kernels of goodness, turned into a rather sticky heap of well… very damp kernels of goodness. Which can be a tad bit problematic if you, much like me, have hoarder tendencies and demand that every bit of food is re-used. Cooking with left-overs can be challenging and requires a bit of inventiveness. But the bit of extra thought and effort pay off, left-overs make for the most comforting dishes and, by re-using rather than junking, you make a step towards sustainability.
My friend couscous balls with awesome white sauce, make for a perfect summer snack. Be it for a party or just a quick family lunch, the little morsels of crispy awesomeness are worth the extra bit of effort required. Forming little patties out of sticky couscous can be a bit time-consuming, but it’s work that requires little attention and can be done easily while watching someone do something on TV. The couscous balls are crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. The refreshing white sauce, of crème fraîche and yoghurt, with chives and parsley and a few diced cucumbers may sound rather simple, but it is all that is needed for a simple, but rewarding summer snack.

My fried couscous balls with awesome white sauce

Crème Fraîche
Oregano (dried) 

Couscous balls: For this little snack I used left-over couscous, but you could, obviously, just as well cook some just for this dish. For pointers on how I prepare couscous check out this post (or just follow the instructions on your package). When making fresh couscous, plan in some extra liquid, to get a slightly stickier result. I can’t say how much couscous I used and it probably doesn’t matter too much. Maybe 200g of cooked couscous, maybe less, much of it was munched away in the making.
Your couscous should be sticky enough to form little spheres that hold together well, you might need to add a bit of water if it is too coarse and fluffy. Have a bowl of water ready, to keep your hands moist while you roll the couscous. Take a teaspoon full of the sticky couscous and form a little ball. Role it between your palms with a bit of pressure and, once it’s smooth, let it rest on a plate. If you like, add a few spices to your “batter”. Some cumin, pepper, chili, nutmeg, paprika or the good old cinnamon might spice things up a bit, literally.
Heat up some vegetable oil in a pan, a ball added to the oil should start some serious sizzling. Brown the balls from all sides (haha…) and drain on some kitchen paper. I’ve done this in a pan, but baking would probably work just as nice. I suggest to role each ball in some oil, to place all of them in a preheated oven (grill – at least 200°C) on a baking sheet until they are all nice and crisp.

couscous balls - IMG_3382
The sauce: Mix 1.5 parts of crème fraîche ( for a party-sized bowl I use 500 g of Danish 18% fat stuff, but more or less fat won’t matter too much) and 1 part yoghurt ( which is roughly 300 g, full fat seems like a reasonable choice here, I guess). If necessary, add a few teaspoons of water, to make the sauce a bit more runny. Season with salt and pepper. Add a bit of dried oregano and a pinch or two of sugar as well as cumin. Chop some fresh chives and parsley. Add a bit of diced cucumber and give the whole thing a good stir. That’s it. Make this recipe your own. Sometimes I like adding quite a lot of chunks of cucumber and loads of chives and parsley, and sometimes I prefer it runny and fairly smooth.