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So after a few false starts in which my flight was cancelled and/or delayed, it looks like this is my final day in Israel for a while. I will be returning back to sunny California, but never fear, dear reader, I will continue posting about Israeli food from there, so stay tuned!

About the couscous: this is one of the traditional recipes my family uses. We have two versions of pumpkin couscous, the sweet one, and the savory one. The sweet one can be a bit of a surprise for first time eaters as it is really (deliciously) sweet. The first time my Dad ate it with my Mother’s family he asked if dessert was being served before dinner.

So let’s start out small with the savory version at the moment and then I will make another post for the sweet version. This is a great, healthy meal we often eat for lunch on Shabbat as a lighter alternative to Orisa. If you don’t like couscous, you can also serve just the pumpkin stew part of the dish or add noodles and more water to make it a soup.

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Ingredients: makes about 6 servings

2 cups couscous (I used whole wheat, but you can also use regular)
1 whole white onion
2-3 zucchinis
2-3 carrots, peeled
1 pound (1/2 kilo) pumpkin
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 can chickpeas
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3-4 cups water
salt

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Roughly chop onions, carrots and zucchinis. Cut pumpkin into large 1 inch cubes. Once your vegetables are prepared, set a large pot on medium heat and add olive oil. When the oil is hot, add onions, zucchinis and carrots until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin, turmeric, and enough water to cover all the vegetables. Allow to simmer on medium heat, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are soft or about 30 minutes. Once your stew is done, add the can of chickpeas and salt to taste.

To prepare the couscous, combine the dried couscous and 2.5 cups hot water from your finished stew in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly, cover the bowl, and let stand for about 5 minutes or until the couscous soaks all of the liquid.

Serve by spooning some of the vegetables from the stew over the couscous (there should not be a lot of liquid left in the stew at this point), and eat together. Enjoy!

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