Discover the simple yet delicious grain that is couscous. Learn exactly What is Couscous as well as how you can prepare and enjoy it for yourself. It’s so simple and even healthy for you to savor.
Couscous originated in North Africa and is still a staple food in Morocco, Tunisia, North Africa and Algeria today. It is made from semolina wheat, and then formed into small granules. It can now be found in instant and non-instant forms for cooking.
What Does it Resemble?
Couscous resembles spaghetti and macaroni in that they are also made from semolina flour by mixing in flour and egg. The process for making couscous is a bit contrary though, which is why it ends up much different. It resembles rice, quinoa, barley or porridge in its looks. You may have even confused it with one of these, if you have encountered it in the past. By itself, it does not have much taste, but when paired with seasonings of your choice, it has a delicious flavor that can be enjoyed by itself or mixed in with another food.
How it is Made
Historically the making of couscous would have been completed by people living in little villages around the Mediterranean basin.
To make couscous in the past, you have begun by rubbing semolina in between your hands that had been moistened.
Your rubbing motion would combine water with the flour and form it into hundreds of tiny grains. It would have required your light touch to be mastered in the rubbing motion or it would end up in a ball of goo. Once your light touch was mastered, it is a simple way to make pasta.
The formed grains are then dried in the sun. Once they are dried, you would have steamed them to cook. Often times the steaming would have taken place while making a dish such as lamb stew. To make this stew, you would have needed a special pot called a couscoussière. It would have been a very complicated process during which you would have had to go through lengthy steps to make sure the grains stayed separate.
Thankfully, this whole process is no longer needed as instant couscous can be easily purchased and prepared at home. Honestly, I think that instant couscous might be the easiest grain-based pasta to prepare.
How to Cook Instant Varieties
Most instant couscous will have instructions on the package for you on how to cook that specific type. To give you an idea of just how easy it is to cook instant couscous, it literally takes only the amount of time for water to boil. For me, it usually takes between 5 to 10 minutes total.
You start off by brining your specific amount of water to a boil with your desired seasonings and about a teaspoon of olive oil. You can add anything you like, but some of my favorites are garlic, parmesan, red pepper flakes, basil, rosemary or mint. I have even heard that some people enjoy putting things like craisins, raisins or apricots in their couscous. Your herb choices all depend on what kind of dish you are making with your couscous.
Once your water has begun to boil with your seasonings in it, add your instant couscous and remove from the heat.
Let your couscous sit for 5 minutes while covered, and then fluff with a fork before you serve. It’s as simple as that!
Believe it or not, couscous is actually quite healthy for you to eat as well. It is also a vegan grain but is not gluten free. The below nutrition facts are directly from the USDA Nutrient Database. According to this, you can see that based on 100g, couscous is low fat and also a good source of protein and fiber.
Nutritional value in 100g of Couscous
Total Lipid Fat .64g
How to Serve
There are many different ways you can include couscous in your daily diet. It could be enjoyed as a side dish alone, as a base for any kind of meat, a base for vegetables, in a stew or even as a part of a salad, just to name a few ideas.
Instant couscous is an easy and delicious compliment to your dish, no matter what it is. Finding it at your local grocery store is also an easy task now, and a great benefit is that it is usually very low in cost. Give couscous a try today, it is so simple and oh so good!
What is Couscous?
Perhaps you have gathered by now. Couscous is a type of grain that comes from semolina wheat. It goes through a process to become many little balls that are dried out, and once cooked with any spices you desire, becomes a delicious side dish, or compliment food. The best part is that instant couscous is so quick and simple to prepare. You can have a delicious and healthy grain as a part of your dish, in literally 10 minutes or less.
What is your favorite way to prepare couscous?