How to Make Couscous

Were you wondering how to make couscous? In this article we are going to discuss how to prepare couscous in different ways.
Couscous is a dish that is very much popular in Middle Eastern and African cuisine. It is made by mixing together semolina, flour, water and salt. The couscous grains are small and spherical in shape and they are used in many salads or eaten as side dishes. Due to the growing fascination with Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, couscous is also eaten in the States. It is generally steamed and served with meat and vegetable stews. To make the perfect couscous, the proportion of water to couscous should be ideal. Also the seasoning for the couscous recipe should not be too much or too little. To make couscous from scratch is a highly labor intensive process that will take several hours. With precooked couscous that just needs to be steamed available in all supermarket, making couscous is very easy.

How to Cook Couscous

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter

In a small saucepan heat the water until it comes to a boil. Add the butter and oil and let it simmer for a minute. In a large bowl, place the couscous in a thin layer. Pour the boiling water over the couscous and cover it with a cling film. Leave it undisturbed for 12 - 15 minutes making sure that there is no vent in the cling film through which the steam will escape. After 15 minutes, you will notice that the grains of couscous have expanded in volume. Remove the cling film from the bowl and fluff the couscous with a fork. Always make sure that you fluff the couscous with a fork and not with a spoon. Using a spoon will result in the grains getting crushed which will turn the couscous mushy and gelatinous.

How to Make Moroccan Couscous

  • 1 ½ cup couscous
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½ cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon ginger powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

In a small skillet, dry roast the cumin powder, ground cloves, cayenne pepper, allspice, coriander powder, ground cardamom and ginger powder for a few seconds. When the spices become fragrant, remove from heat and transfer to a plate. Now add olive oil to the skillet and fry the sliced onions until they are soft and translucent. Next add the spices along with the sliced bell pepper. When bell peppers are cooked, add the garbanzo beans and the raisins. Add the orange juice and chicken stock and let it simmer for some time. Place the couscous in a large bowl and pour this stock with vegetables into it. Cover with a plate and let it stand for 10-12 minutes. After 12 minutes, fluff the couscous with a fork and add in the chopped mint leaves.

You can make many side dishes and main dishes by using couscous. It is a healthier alternative than having pasta and white rice and the best thing is that it is so easy to make. All you need to do is to add the different vegetables and spices in it. To make it more nutritious and flavorful, you can use chicken stock or vegetable stock for steaming the couscous instead of water. Now that you know how to cook couscous, you can make it for lunch or dinner.
By Rimlee Bhuyan
Published: 2/1/2011
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