Spicy Couscous with Dates Recipe - Allrecipes.com
Spicy Couscous with Dates Recipe
  • READY IN 30 mins

Spicy Couscous with Dates

Recipe by  

"This is a spicy couscous recipe for the winter months from far in the Arctic north!"

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 2 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    10 mins
  • COOK

    20 mins

    30 mins


  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and saute onion until tender. Season with anise pods and salt. Mix in garlic, red bell pepper, dried hot red peppers, and black pepper. Continue to cook and stir until vegetables are tender.
  2. Stir mushrooms and lemon juice into the vegetable mixture. Mix in dates and cinnamon, and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.
  3. Place couscous in a medium saucepan, and cover with vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover, and simmer 3 to 5 minutes, until all moisture has been absorbed.
  4. Fluff couscous with a fork, mix into the vegetables, and serve.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Aug 05, 2008

This was fantastic! However, I made a couple of substitutions for personal taste and convenience. I used 2 whole fresh chilies (about 3 inches long) in place of the dried ones and substituted zucchini for the mushrooms for some additional nutrition (and also because zucchini is what I had on hand). In the final step, I added the vegetable stock directly to the veggie mixture, brought to a slow boil, added the couscous, covered the pan, removed it from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. It looked beautiful and tasted magnificent!

Most Helpful Critical Review
Jan 19, 2011

For the most part, this is a great site and I have gotten many great recipes from it. That being said, there are a small number of recipes, this one included, where not only do I not understand how it achieved 5 stars, but I literally cannot fathom how ANYONE would give this 5 stars. My father and I made it EXACTLY as written (we even went to a Chinese market to buy star anise). What does it taste like? It tastes like couscous with onions and mushrooms and a little sweetness. Nothing interesting about it and you couldn't taste the dates, the star anise or the vegetable stock. It was alot of trouble for a bland dinner. One more thing, star anise pods become like little pieces of plastic floating around in the dish and they are almost impossible to pick out until you have the unfortunate occasion to bite into one. The only reason I'm giving this 2 stars instead of 1 is because I do like couscous with onions and mushrooms :)

Feb 02, 2007

This has fast become one of my favorite dishes...so delicious. I serve it with a roasted sweet potatoe. If you cannot tolerate very spicy foods, then lessen the dried pepper to what you feel you can handle. It comes out very spicy. I used crimini mushrooms, they are meatier then the white button. I'd give this 6 stars if I could.

Apr 18, 2007

amazing dish! I would also say, in regards to the previous rating, that I would give this a 6 star rating if I could. I did change something important though. I didn't have any anise on hand so I used a small amount of coursely chopped fennel seeds instead. I haven't had it with the anise, but with the fennel it was grand. This is also a recipe that can be made ahead of time and quickly reheated in the oven. Watch the time on the covered simmering couscous, it barely takes the 3 min.

Dec 15, 2010

Substituted some red curry paste for chilies and added a zucchini and a can of kidney beans. Left out the lemon juice and pepper (personal preferences.) It was wonderful! Tip: Cut the dates lengthwise to remove pits easily before chopping. Don't forget to remove the star anise pods before eating. More vegetable broth may be needed to get the couscous consistency you desire.

Sep 10, 2010

Really liked this - it was a good blend of spicy and sweet. Like others have done, I added 1 zucchini. I would also increase the amount of dates the next time I make it.

Jan 24, 2011

This was really really good but I had to make some substitutions because of ingredients I didn't have. I used scant 1/2 tsp anise powder instead of the pods, about a tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic, 1 whole red bell pepper chopped, just a pinch of black pepper, 3/4 cup sliced mushrooms (they really do give it a wonderful flavor), 1/3 cup chopped dates, and used chicken stock instead of vegetable. I also used about a tsp Sriracha hot sauce instead of the dried pepper because I couldn't find any and it gave it just the right amount of spice. I also had to add about 2 more T of oil after adding the mushrooms, etc because it would have been too dry. YUM *edit* by the way this makes around 4 servings, not 2!

Nov 09, 2010

"A food so nice they named it twice!" :) The rave reviews for this dish initially sold me. I gave the couscous a whirl, and was in awe of the superb mix of flavors. It reminds me of a Southern Mexico stew that combines many of the same flavors- cinnamon, anise, hot peppers, dates (they also add boiled eggs and potatoes!). The sugar from the dates nicely caramelized the rest of the veggies near the end of the cooking process. The warming spices are perfect for the coming cold months!


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  • Calories
  • 594 kcal
  • 30%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 111.9 g
  • 36%
  • Cholesterol
  • 0 mg
  • 0%
  • Fat
  • 10.6 g
  • 16%
  • Fiber
  • 9.2 g
  • 37%
  • Protein
  • 18 g
  • 36%
  • Sodium
  • 315 mg
  • 13%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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