Being a first time new mother is exhausting! I haven’t got the time to cook and write. Now my little bub is almost 4 months old and can occupy himself with toys for few minutes so I can cook again. But still, I cannot cook something complicated and time consuming. It has to finish under one hour or my baby will scream due to lack of attention.

Waiting for mommy to finish taking pictures of the food.


Couscous is definitely not usual in Indonesian kitchen. Personally, I knew about couscous when I visited my friend in Switzerland and she served this food for lunch. Twenty five years I lived without knowing about it. I remember I was impressed by how easy to cook couscous. Pour hot water to it, cover, and fluff it up. So I was excited to find couscous in local grocery store.

Couscous is a type of pasta which has grainy texture. I thought it can be a nice subtitute for rice once in a while. Compared to rice, couscous is more expensive here in Indonesia. But hey, we need variation from rice and Indomie.

For couscous to be accepted by my less adventurous husband, I cooked it with herbs and spices common in Indonesia and with side dish I know he likes. Guess what, he liked it! Success!

My inspiration comes from Sundanese “nasi liwet”, a dish where rice is cooked with herbs and spices easily found in java region. It is fragrance and delicious. The herbs and spices used in thr making of “nasi liwet” are shallot, garlic, chili pepper, bay leaf, lemongrass, and galangal. Some recipes also include lime leaf.

I include tomato, cucumber, and green bean for fiber source. We need our daily veggies, guys!

To cook couscous, all we need to do is pour hot water, cover it for five minutes, and fluff it using fork. So to infuse the Indonesian flavor, I just make the stock.

First, I sliced thinly shallot, garlic, and chili. Then I sauteed all of those along with lemongrass, bay leaf, and galangal to woken up the flavor. When it smell so good, it is time to add water. Bring the water to boil and I put in the green bean to cook it.

Next, I took out the green bean, and discard the lemongrass, bay leaf, and galangal. i use the stock to cook the couscous. Easy peasy.

Carbs done, veggies done, now the protein…

I apologize beforehand cause I didn’t use fresh spices for the fish. Instead, I use shortcut in form of premixed seasoning. This stuff is delicious, but not the healthiest choice (talk about MSG). Again, I don’t have much time to spare.


It is super easy to use this kind of mixed seasoning. Just rub it on cleaned fish, wait 10 to 15 minutes, and fry the fish.

And done! Our lunch that was not rice. Yasss!

It took the fragrance of the herbs pretty well. I love it. Couscous has lower calories compared to rice, so a win. Yaayy..


Couscous with Indonesian Herbs

Category: Recipe, rice & noodles, seafood

Couscous with Indonesian Herbs


  • 200 gr couscous
  • 150 ml water
  • 3 pcs chili pepper, slice thinly
  • 5 pcs small shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 psc bay leaves
  • 2 stalk lemon grass
  • 3 cm galangal
  • powdered bouillon (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 100 gr green bean (or other vegetable)
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil


  1. In a pan, heat up the oil and stir in chili pepper, shallot, garlic, bay leaves, lemongrass, and galangal until fragrance.
  2. Add water, salt, bouillon, and pepper and let it boil for about five minutes.
  3. Add in green bean and let it cook until its cooked, about three minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat, take out the green bean.
  5. Discard the bay leaves, lemongrass, and galangal.
  6. Stir in couscous and cover for five minutes.
  7. Fluff up couscous using fork.
  8. Serve it with green bean and other side dish of your choosing.