Couscous is not among the so-called “superfoods,” but it’s worth having in your kitchen. It’s easy to dismiss couscous as a healthful grain similar to bulgur or farro, but that’s not the case. Many people think couscous is a kind of whole grain due to its rice-like appearance. But it is not a kind of whole grain. Today, in this article, I will discuss what couscous is? How to Cook couscous? And everything you need to know about couscous.
What Is Couscous?
Couscous is a pasta composed of semolina and wheat flour soaked and mixed until it forms small balls. This North African classic has grown worldwide due to its incredible versatility, allowing for a wide range of recipe variants with various extra ingredients. Fruits, vegetables, and meats can all add as garnishes, making couscous a versatile main or side dish that appeals to a wide range of tastes.
Types of Couscous
There are various types of couscous because it is a famous cuisine in many cultures. Moroccan, Israeli, and Lebanese Couscous are the three most popular forms, with Moroccan and Israeli-style Couscous being the most common in the United States supermarkets.
- Moroccan couscous is the tiniest of couscous grains, being only slightly larger than semolina. It cooks in a matter of minutes due to its small size.
- Israeli couscous, often known as pearl couscous, is much more giant than Moroccan couscous and resembles small pasta orbs. It takes around 10 minutes to cook and has a nutty flavor and chewier texture than smaller types.
- The largest of the three forms of couscous, also known as moghrabieh couscous, takes the longest to prepare.
How to Cook Couscous?
Instant couscous is prepared in the same way as pasta, using the boiling process. On the other hand, heat the water for a short time before being switched off to allow the water to seep into the wheat.
Cooking couscous is simple once you’ve mastered the couscous water ratio. If any liquid ratios are different, verify the manufacturer’s instructions; they vary depending on the product.
Step by Step Guide to Cook Couscous
- In a saucepan, pour 1 cup of water—a slight drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt. Bring a pot of water to boil.
- Extra virgin olive oil use to toast the couscous, and it is an optional step that can make a significant impact on flavor. In a non-stick skillet, heat a small amount of extra virgin olive oil, approximately 1 to 2 tablespoons.
- With a wooden spoon, stir the uncooked couscous throughout constantly. You want the couscous to get a gorgeous golden-brown color.
Note. The process will be quick. So, observe it.
- In the boiling water, mix in the toasted couscous. Remove the pot or saucepan from the heat, cover it with a lid, or turn it off immediately. Allow the couscous to remain undisturbed for 10 minutes or until the water has been absorbed completely.
- Now stir with a fork. Taste and adjust the salt to your preferences.
Your couscous is now ready to serve.
Cook Couscous with Microwave Oven
You can quickly cook couscous in the microwave oven.
Microwave the broth or water for about 5 minutes in a large microwave-safe bowl. Pour in a little olive oil, salt, and your couscous when the liquid is ready.
Cover and put aside for 10 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed entirely by the couscous. Use a fork to stir couscous.
Flavoring of Couscous
There are many ways to flavor couscous. You can add some fresh herbs like ground cumin, chopped parsley, dill, and green onions, and a little seasoning of your choice.
You can also sauté a couple of garlic cloves in extra virgin olive oil after crushing. If you want to add more flavor, cut or chop some vegetables and sauté them in olive oil before mixing them in your herbed couscous. For a nuttier flavor, roast the couscous in butter or oil before adding it to the water.
Tips to Cook Couscous
Here’s some tips that can come handy:
- To prepare 1 cup of couscous, you’ll need 1 cup of boiling broth or water. Your couscous will become sticky if you use too much liquid, and using too little fluid can result in drier couscous.
- As a cooking liquid, use broth. You can use either water or broth, although broth will flavor the couscous immediately.
- Allow the couscous to absorb the boiling liquid completely without disturbing it.
- Fluff the couscous with a clean fork when it’s ready. To give more flavor, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or some fresh herbs.
Read more: How To Cook Pearl Barley
Everything You Should Know About Couscous
Taste of Couscous
Couscous has a bland flavor, comparable to pasta because it is a mixture of durum and wheat flour. It has a slight nuttiness to it, but it is otherwise mild.
How to Store Couscous?
You can store uncooked couscous in a tightly sealed container in the pantry. It can stay up to two years in the refrigerator, but if you have not used it in a while, smell it to be sure it has not gone rotten.
Cooked couscous will keep for three days in the refrigerator, but if you pair it with other ingredients that spoil quickly, it may lose its freshness sooner.
Where Can I Get Couscous?
Despite its status as an international dish, couscous is generally available and not hard to find. Look in the pasta department, rice section, or international foods aisle for boxes, bags, etc. Moroccan or smaller couscous will be the most popular, although Israeli couscous may also be available, depending on how well-stocked the grocery is.
When coupled with other robust ingredients, you can serve couscous as a side dish in a salad, soup, or part of the main dish. It’s the perfect base for a wide range of flavors, from sweet to spicy, as well as components, combining well with everything from tomatoes to raisins, thanks to its blank slate flavor profile. The different couscous recipes are adaptable and may be a great addition to any meal.