Ingredient - Morocco
Information about Couscous
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is the national dish of Maghreb (the African countries of Morocco, Tunisia, and
Algeria) and has been a staple of the diet in North Africa for over than
1000 years. It has also become another "designer" ingredient in many
European countries as well as South America and the United States.
believe the name is said to have originated from the hissing of steam as it
passes through the holes of the steamer in which the grain is cooked, however it
is more logical to believe it derived from the classical Arabic word kaskasah,
meaning "to grind" or "to pound." You'll see why below.
is a common misconception that couscous is a grain - like bulgur wheat, but it is
actually processed, like pasta, from tiny hand-rolled balls of semolina flour,
which is a derivative when wheat is milled (ground). Traditionally it is made in
the homes, often with many women gathered together, a sort of "couscous
party". The wheat semolina and flour is rolled by hand with a small amount
of cold water . Once small "grains" are achieved, a little oil is
in North Africa make up large quantities of couscous, which is dried and stored and can be used
over a period of several weeks. However for most of us, this method has been
replaced by industrial manufacture and couscous is now available worldwide. Much
of the couscous sold in stores now is quick cooking or instant.
couscous is low in calories and a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre,
on its own, it is rather bland. In North Africa, it is served as an
accompaniment to meat, fish and poultry dishes, much like rice or potatoes.
There are also many meat and poultry dishes which incorporate couscous and there
are endless ways of flavouring it with a variety of fruit, vegetables, herbs and
and basic cooking of Couscous
Allow 100g/4oz of uncooked couscous per person.
Place in a bowl and add sufficient boiling water or stock so it is
covered by 6mm/¼ inch of liquid. Cover tightly with clingfilm and allow to stand
for about 10 minutes at which point check to see that it is cooked. It is ready
when soft and aerated. If it isn't quite cooked, add a little more boiling water,
mix, re-cover and leave for a few more minutes.
Once cooked, add some butter or olive oil and fluff up with a fork. You can
also now add further flavourings.
will find some couscous recipes on both the Moroccan main page and throughout this site. Just use the
facility to find them all.