For my first attempt at becoming a culinary master I found this recipe on the BBC good food website, pomegranate chicken with almond couscous.
I chose this for my first attempt in 2018 because there were only three steps in the method, not too many ingredients and most importantly I really love pomegranates.
I will put this out there now, a good reason as to why I have so many cooking fails is that I always make changes to any recipe I find, sometimes this is by accident because I forgot to pick up all the ingredients, and other times it’s because I just want to add elements I like and remove those I know I don’t really like. This recipe was no different. I chose not to include the chicken stock at all, rather I added a little margarine to the couscous and did not add anything extra to the chicken. I don’t mind using stock however I generally prefer to have it watered down as for me it just makes food taste too salty. I also chose to go with harissa paste as opposed to tagine spice paste because I already had some. My final change was that I could not find flaked almonds in the cupboard (of course I ended up finding them after the meal) and so I just toasted whole almonds and added in some pine nuts too because why not. Oh and I forgot about the mint whoops!
I had trouble finding an actual pomegranate for this recipe, they were on sale at a few different supermarkets but had all sold out so I ended up buying a packet of the pomegranate seeds from Woolworths for $5!! A pomegranate normally costs about $2 so I was pretty outraged but it did end up saving a lot of time in the long run.
This recipe was actually pretty easy to follow, and it did taste pretty delicious however I made some mistakes along the way.
I started out with cooking the onion and the chicken, I then added the harissa into the pomegranate juice and mixed it around before adding it to the dish. At this point everything was looking and smelling good.
I decided to cook the couscous not at the beginning like the recipe suggested. This turned out to be my downfall. I kept watch of the time and the dish, after simmering for about 9 minutes the dish was looking pretty perfect and I was excited that my first attempt at cooking in 2018 was going to be a success
Look how thick and delicious that sauce is! Yum!
With a minute left of cooking according to the recipe I decided to add margarine to the couscous and fluff away. In my head I thought this would take a minute, in reality it took a bit longer. By the time the couscous was ready my dish had been over cooked and the sauce was gone.
Thankfully I was not alone in the kitchen, and someone suggested that I add a little more pomegranate juice to the pan and cook for a minute so that I would have some sauce for the dish. This worked out okay but the final sauce was pretty runny.
The dish was still really tasty, while the chicken was over cooked and so a little chewy, the flavours were great. It was sweet and spicy at the same time, and the nuts helped bring a different texture to the dish which was really enjoyable. Overall I would say this dish was a relative success and I didn’t mess up too much to be completely disheartened so that’s always a plus!