Tuesday, July 4, 2017

How to Cook Couscous + 4 Easy Recipes with Couscous

Tired of rice, potatoes and pasta? Try couscous! It's super easy to make and goes great with a variety of hot dishes. Couscous also makes a great addition to salad. Check out the gorgeous (and healthy) fish steamed on spicy couscous below.

You can find the recipe by clicking here or on the photo above.

First, let me say, that "How to Cook Couscous" is a misnomer here. Although the packaging doesn't necessarily say it, most of the couscous you can buy in a normal grocery store - and the one I use all the time - is instant couscous. Authentic Moroccan couscous takes much longer and is meant to be steamed. For instructions for that method, check out this post on The Spruce.

Instant couscous, on the other hand, takes mere minutes to make, which is why we added it to our family repertoire when we lived in Paris way back in the 1990s. It's been a favorite ever since. Those were the days of a toddler and a newborn, with a big house to keep tidy, laundry to stay on top of and grocery shopping done mostly on foot, with children in tow.

If there were ever a time when a busy parent needed instant couscous, that was it. I could cook couscous and add in a some frozen peas with the hot water (for color and nutrition!) and the toddler was happy to call that lunch. Of course, we didn't call them peas. It was Couscous with Little Green Balls, a happy, fun dish, beloved by all. Sometimes I used chicken stock in place of the water (and eliminated the salt) to add even more flavor.

Tip: If you don't use couscous very often, store it in a sealed bag your freezer. This will stop it from getting a stale or slightly rancid flavor.

Ingredients - for 4 cups of couscous
2 cups or 370g wheat couscous – medium grain
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
Just boiled water to cover - a good rule of thumb is about 1- 1 1/4 cups water for each cup of couscous. So for 2 cups of couscous, add 2 - 2 1/2 cups of water, depending on if you like it drier and fluffier or a little more moist. Either way, it should still fluff up.

Put the couscous in a bowl with the salt and butter. Add enough hot - but not quite boiling - water to cover it. Give the whole thing a quick stir, then seal the top of the bowl with cling film and then drape a towel over the top and set aside for at least 10 minutes. Or laissez gonfler - leave it to swell - as the French say.

The couscous will soften and double in size. When it's done, fluff it with a fork and keep covered till needed.

Now you know how to cook couscous. Wasn't that easy?

Use it to make the steamed fish with spicy couscous pictured at the top or serve warm with the Butterflied Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon, below. All the lovely lemony drippings off the golden roasted chicken add even more flavor to the couscous on the plate.

Rosemary Lemon Chicken with Couscous
This Moroccan Style Lentil Chickpea Stew is also a winner served with couscous.

Moroccan Style Lentil and Chickpea Stew

Or let your couscous cool and add it to a dressed salad with pan-fried chicken and broccoli that's filling enough to be the meal!

Broccoli Chicken Couscous Salad with Radishes and Tomatoes

What are your favorite dishes to serve with couscous?

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