Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cooking Couscous

A precooked pasta-like product hailing from the Berber people of northwestern Africa, couscous has become a popular food around the world. Because of their historical Moroccan and Algerian "connections," the French now consider it part of their national cuisine. It's popularity has made it readily available in most US grocery stores and natural food shops.

Couscous is made by rolling and shaping semolina wheat. It's a pretty arduous process. The finished granules are roughly spherical and about one millimeter in diameter, before cooking that is.

Traditionally, couscous is served under a meat or vegetable stew. It's a pretty versatile food, though and can be eaten plain, flavored, warm, or cold. Moroccans will steam couscous in a special pan over the stew they are cooking. This way is quicker, and easier.

Equipment needed
Medium saucepan with lid
measuring cups and spoons

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Bring the water to bowl in a medium saucepan. Add the salt, oil, and couscous. Remove from the heat, stir, and cover, letting it stand for 5 minutes.

Return the pan to the stove and cook over medium heat, stirring with a fork, for 3 to 5 minutes until done. Do not overcook or you will have mush.

Flavor and serve with cooked vegetables, meat, cooked dried fruit, nuts, or whatever else you want.

Serves 4.

Photo by Anissa Thompson

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