An Aladdin-inspired Couscous Dish

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - July 19, 2006
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If there’s anywhere Hawaii residents like to travel, it’s to Disneyland - and if there are any shows that local performers aspire to be in, it’s ones like Aladdin at the Hyperion Theatre at California Adventure.

When the Disney Theatricals team held auditions last December, that dream became a reality for Sam Pablo, who won the title role. He has joined other former Hawaii residents such as Eddie Kaulukukui, Robert Orosco, Kalen Sakima, Sarah Kobayashi and Joseph Morales in the hit musical production.

After the success of those auditions, director Stefan Novinski and casting director Daniel Solis are coming back to hold auditions July 19 and 20 at the Ballet Hawaii Studios in the Dole Cannery. They not only are looking for the major characters, but also for ensemble members. It is an open call, so anyone age 18 and older may audition by bringing a photo, resume and music; an accompanist will be provided. For more information, call Elissa Josephsohn Public Relations at 732-7733.

In the spirit of Aladdin, here is a couscous recipe dedicated to Stefan and Daniel.

Couscous consists of small grains, the main ingredient of which is semolina. The grain is a staple in many North African countries. In shape, color and texture it resembles rice, and is often added to soups and salads, or used as an accompaniment to meat and vegetable dishes.

When properly cooked the texture is light and fluffy. The couscous available in supermarkets here has been pre-steamed and dried; the package directions usually instruct to add boiling water, place in a bowl and cover tightly. The couscous swells and within a few minutes is ready to fluff with a fork and serve.

Couscous contains niacin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, thiamine and potassium.


* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 medium onion, finely diced
* 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
* 1 zucchini, peeled and finely diced
* 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
* 1/4 cup vegetable broth (no MSG and low-sodium)
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1/8 teaspoon curry powder
* 1/8 teaspoon cumin powder
* 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
* 1/2 cup golden raisins
* 2 1/4 cups vegetable broth (NO MSG and low-sodium)
* 2 cups uncooked couscous
* slivered almonds for garnish, if desired

In large pan, heat olive oil and saute onion, carrots, zucchini and bell pepper until crisp-tender. Add the 1/4 cup vegetable broth, sprinkle with cinnamon and curry, and mix to combine. Reduce heat to medium, add apricots and raisins, and simmer 15 minutes.

While veggies are simmering, bring vegetable broth to a boil, and stir in couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let stand for about 6 minutes. Add in veggies and combine just until mixed through. Sprinkle with slivered almonds, if desired.

Makes eight side-dish servings. Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 360 Fat: 2.5 grams Cholesterol: 0 milligrams Sodium: 200 milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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