How to Cook Couscous

Couscous is a grainy semolina wheat which is a good alternative to regular pasta. It was originally used in North African cuisine and is now widely available in American supermarkets.

Couscous is very easy to prepare and can be served as a plain side dish to spicy meat and fish dishes. It can be used with milk to create porridge, as a salad dressing, or garnished with fruits as a dessert.

Most of the couscous available in the market are not pre-cooked. Below are two simple ways to cook it.

How to Cook Plain Couscous

  1. Simply combine 1 part of the couscous to 1 part of water with the sauce or flavoring that you want to use.
  2. Boil the liquid and the couscous.
  3. When the mixture is boiling, turn off the heat immediately. Cover and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
  4. Plump up with a fork and serve.

Couscous With Olive Oil

  1. Heat 1-2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan on a medium-low flame for 5 minutes. You may use vegetable oil as a substitute for olive oil.
  2. Add 1 cup of couscous and ½ tbsp of salt
  3. Stir the couscous constantly until it turns golden brown. This may take only 3 minutes. Watch over your couscous as it may get overcooked and burn.
  4. Pour in 1 ½ cups boiling water and cover immediately.
  5. Turn off the fire and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Fluff up the couscous gently with a fork and serve.

Some Tips

  • Couscous goes well with all kinds of sauces, soups, and stews.
  • You may want to substitute the water with chicken stock, beef stock, or the juices of other dishes to boil with your couscous.
  • For more flavor, you can throw in some pine nuts into your olive oil before adding the couscous. You can also put currants, raisins, or a cinnamon stick while it is boiling.
  • Dried leaf herbs or fresh minced herbs such as basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram will heighten the flavor of your couscous.
  • If you don’t use up all your cooked couscous, store it in the refrigerator. Just reheat it in the steamer when you want to reuse it.