All about Couscous
Fast food for the modern woman
The first Berbers, a proud nomadic tribe from the Moroccan Sahara, must have been enchanted with this little grain of pasta called couscous: it was a staple in their diet and they may well have invented it. A great alternative to rice, pasta or bread, it traveled well, took hardly any effort to prepare and was quite nutritious. It was the perfect food for the traveler on the road.
Nowadays, couscous is still a welcome sight in any busy and healthy lifestyle that appreciates good food. It is made from the same durum semolina wheat that is used for pasta, but couscous traditionally has a lower concentration of calories, carbs and fat compared to spaghetti or rice.
It is a versatile ingredient that works well as a pasta replacement for dinner and can also be used as the basis for a hot breakfast. With its fast cooking time, you can have a steaming plate of fluffy, flavorful couscous on the table within minutes. And don’t worry about leftovers: cold couscous can be turned into a wonderful salad the next day: just mix it up with your favorite salad vegetables, add a splash of vinaigrette and you’re done!
Couscous can be purchased in bulk, as a readily seasoned mix or in different sizes: the two varieties that are mainly available are the small Moroccan couscous and the larger pearl couscous, or Israeli couscous. The Moroccan couscous, either golden or tri-colored, is traditionally steamed in a special pan, but most of the couscous that is available to us here in the United States is already pre-steamed and dried, and just needs to be soaked in hot liquid. The Israeli or pearl couscous is boiled in plenty of salted water and takes a bit longer to cook than its Moroccan cousin, but the time invested is well rewarded.
Try soaking instant couscous in chicken stock or a vegetable broth (ration 1:1) for additional flavor and serve it for dinner with stewed vegetables, chicken or lamb.
* Winco has both golden and tricolor couscous available in their bulk section and several couscous mixes from the NearEast brand on the shelf.
* CostPlus World Market carries both Moroccan and Israeli pearl couscous. Try their location on 1157 North Milwaukee Street in Boise or at 16412 North Marketplace Boulevard in Nampa.
* Want to see what wonderful dishes you can make with couscous? Visit www.couscousdiet.com for exciting recipes!