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Grilled Vegetable Couscous Bowl

Grilled Vegetable Couscous Bowl Recipe - All the summery goodness—eggplant and tofu cross-hatched with grill marks, corn, tomatoes, mint, and a pulpy ginger topping—harmonizes beautifully in this bowl, bursting with juicy flavors. I especially like couscous here because it’s so quick-cooking and only requires covering with boiling water. As with quinoa and some of the other grains in this book, a quick toast of the grains deepens its flavor. I prefer to cut the grilled corn off the cob for serving, but you can also chop each cob in half and place two pieces in each bowl.

SERVES 4
Grilled Vegetable Couscous Bowl Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • One 14-ounce container firm tofu, sliced and pressed
  • 2 Japanese eggplants (8 to 10 ounces), or equivalent weight other small eggplants
  • 3 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ½ ounce fresh ginger (1 thumb-sized piece), peeled
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice, from about ½ lime
  • 2 tablespoons neutral-tasting oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1½ cups couscous
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 4 ears corn, husked
  • 1 large ripe tomato (about 12 ounces), cored and diced, or 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved if large
  • ¼ cup loosely packed fresh basil or mint leaves, for garnish

How to make Grilled Vegetable Couscous Bowl

  1. Whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, and sesame oil for the marinade. Arrange the pressed tofu in a shallow dish, then drizzle with the marinade. (Alternatively, combine the tofu and marinade in a resealable bag.) Turn the tofu so that it’s well coated. Let stand for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours, flipping periodically.
  2. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Place in a colander, sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt, and rub with your hands to ensure even distribution. Let stand for 25 to 30 minutes, while the tofu marinates.
  3. Slice the ginger into the thinnest possible rings. Place in a mortar along with the scallions, sesame seeds, sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Use a pestle to pound the ginger until you get a pulpy mass, with some ragged pieces of ginger left intact. Add the lime juice. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the neutral-tasting oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt or sugar as necessary.
  4. Cook the couscous: Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon neutral-tasting oil in a deep skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add the couscous and cook until fragrant and darkened a shade, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the boiling water and the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt, cover the pan and remove from the heat, and let stand for 10 minutes. Leave covered until ready to serve.
  5. Heat one side of a grill to a medium-high flame and grease the grates.
  6. Brush the eggplant with oil, then place it flesh side down on the grill, along with the corn, placing both over indirect heat (the cooler side of the grill). Cover the grill. Cook the eggplant for 5 to 10 minutes, until tender and easily pierced with a paring knife and char marks appear. Cook the corn for 5 to 7 minutes, turning every 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool until safe to handle.
  7. If your grill is large enough, grill the tofu at the same time as the eggplant and corn. If not, place the tofu on the grill after the eggplant and corn are cooked, again over indirect heat, reserving any excess marinade. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes. Brush with a bit of the oil, then use a spatula to flip and cook the other side until it takes on grill marks. Baste with the leftover marinade. Transfer to a plate.
  8. Remove the kernels from the corn: Hold the corn upright or on its side on a large cutting board and, using a sharp chef’s knife, slice off the kernels from one side in a single downward swipe. Work your way all the way around the cobs until you’ve trimmed off all the kernels.
  9. To serve, divide the couscous among four bowls. Top the couscous in each bowl with the eggplant, corn, tofu, and tomato. Top each serving with a spoonful of the ginger sauce and garnish with the basil or mint. This dish can be served warm or at room temperature.