Heat 4 Tbsp oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add the raw couscous and roast for 3-4 minutes or until grains are golden in colour, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
Put 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan, heat to a medium heat, add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and mix well. Tip couscous into the pan, add the boiling water and a couple of pinches of salt and pepper, then simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover with a lid and leave to rest until liquid has been absorbed and couscous is cooked.
Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil in a large pot, add spinach and cook over medium heat for 1 minute, until just wilted.
Put cooked couscous in a large bowl, add spinach, tomatoes, mint and chicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Mix together all the dressing ingredients with a pinch of salt, then drizzle over the couscous salad before serving.
Israeli couscous has its origins in North Africa but these days it is popular in many western countries. It is not actually a grain, but the small balls of baked pasta resemble grains in appearance. It can be used in a variety of dishes, hot and cold. Unlike the traditional fine-grained couscous, Israeli couscous doesn’t stick or clump together. My chef’s tip is to toast it fi rst; this gives a crunchier texture and speeds up the cooking process.
Article from the August, 2012 issue of Taste magazine.