Indian-spiced couscous with pomegranate and almonds

I’m apparently a sucker for grocery store trickery, at least when it comes to pomegranates. I usually pass them by as impractical and expensive, but I was in a hurry and there was this tempting pyramid right by the entrance. So I did exactly what whoever built that pyramid wanted me to do: I bought one. And then I planned dinner around it, the same way I put together an outfit based on the tights I want to wear. Only me? Well, get yourself some rainbow polka dots or elaborate roses and you’ll see what I mean.

Indian-spiced couscous with pomegranate and almonds | fchem101.com

Pomegranate in hand, I wanted warm richness to complement its acidity. Toasted almonds fit the bill perfectly, and Indian spices made the whole thing way more exotic than its 15-minute prep time would suggest. This dish is deceptively simple: throw some almonds in the oven and couscous in a pot while you wrestle with the pomegranate (pro tip: throw it in a bowl of water so your kitchen doesn’t look like the set of a horror movie), and it’s basically done. It’s the kind of simple, easy meal I make when I’m cooking for myself and my to-do list still looms menacingly. Except instead of passable but filling like the usual eggs or pasta, it’s got a whole lot of flavor going on. Add the crunch from almonds and the burst of biting into a pomegranate seed and you’ve got yourself a winner.

Indian-spiced couscous with pomegranate and almonds | fchem101.com

You may also notice that the photography this week is exceptional. It wasn’t me. My lovely and talented friend Michelle came over for dinner and I put her to work making my food look way prettier than it usually does. Didn’t she do a great job? I love her style! Check out her great taste on Instagram and on her website. Thanks Michelle! You are always invited to dinner.

Indian-spiced couscous with pomegranate and almonds

This simple but delicious dish comes together in less than 15 minutes, and boy does it deliver! We had it with salad for a light dinner, but it would also make a beautiful side dish with some chicken or salmon.

Serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main

¾ c. plain couscous

½ c. raw whole almonds

2 t. vegetable oil, divided

½ pomegranate

1 T. butter

1 t. cumin

½ t. garam masala

¼ t. salt

1/8 t. ginger

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the almonds with 1 teaspoon of oil on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant and beginning to darken, about 8 minutes. Let cool.

While the almonds toast, add 1 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of oil, and a pinch of salt to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, quickly add the couscous, and cover. Let sit for five minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Remove the pomegranate seeds by submerging the fruit in a large bowl of water in the sink and gently working them free. The seeds will sink and the white tissue will float, making it very easy to separate.

When the couscous is ready, stir in the butter, spices, almonds, and pomegranate. And it’s done!