Just a quick post today in praise of the fast-cooking, great-tasting COUSCOUS. Couscous is essentially tiny pieces of pasta -- semolina flour rolled with water and dried.

While I'm usually somewhat phobic of anything pre-made at the grocery store, couscous is a different story. Most of the couscous you find at grocery stores is pre-steamed and dried, making it incredibly fast to make. I can get behind that.

Generally the directions are:

  1. Measure X amount of dry couscous into a bowl
  2. Add X (the same) amount of boiling water to the bowl
  3. Put a plate on top of the bowl to trap the steam
  4. Wait 4 minutes, then fluff up with a fork, sprinkle with salt
couscous
couscous

Israeli couscous is a bit different. Developed in Israel as a substitute for rice, it was originally called "Ptitim." It is made of wheat flour and toasted in an oven.

Pearl couscous, which many people (myself included until now!) confuse with Israeli couscous, is different, too, but can be prepared similarly to Israeli couscous. It's actually made of bulgar (another grain for another day) coated in wheat flour. Go figure!

Israeli and pearl couscous require more liquid and a longer cooking time to become tender, but it's worth the extra effort to make things like Lemon-Pistchio Israeli Couscous or Broiled Vegetables with Toasted Israeli Couscous.

IMG_1868
IMG_1868

But when larger grains like these, or even rice and pasta, just feel too labor intensive, quick couscous has your back.

Some suggested couscous uses:

  • It's excellent under a stew
  • Add it to sauteing veggies with a bit of water or vegetable broth and put the lid on. The couscous will absorb the flavors of the cooking vegetables. (That's what I did for lunch today, at right, with onion, garlic, cumin, and kale)
  • It also makes a great salad. Use couscous for tabbouleh, or add your own veggies and spices to make your own! (for some inspiration, check out this and this)