Have you ever been to Morocco, Algeria or other countries from the African continent? I have never been but its cuisine attracts me more and more. Today I want to share with you a perfect and easy side dish – the couscous.
People living in northern Africa have always been distinguished by their ability to invent and cook amazing dishes. And one of these dishes is couscous – a favorite dish in Morocco, Libya, Mauritania, Algeria, Tunisia, and Israel. This is the main dish of everyone, they cook it two or three times a week, moreover, in some families, it happens more often. Today, couscous is known all over the world. An interesting thing is that in 2011, couscous was recognized as the third favorite dish among all French people.
Couscous is a tasty and healthy, albeit exotic, side dish. Recipes for couscous can be versatile, with the addition of various oriental spices and vegetables. It is added in salads, soups, porridges, and even desserts.
What is couscous?
Before I met couscous in my kitchen I thought it is a grain. Actually couscous is a kind of pasta (only a very small size) made from semolina, which is the coarse part of the grain of hard wheat. In Africa, a classic couscous is usually made manually. Nobody buys ready-made couscous in stores, they cook it only by hand and never dry it ahead. Housewives always make it fresh, immediately before cooking. They form small granules from semolina sprinkled with water and sift them through a sieve. Everything that is smaller than the sieve is recycled, and the obtained granules of the right size are used for cooking. This complicated process is a concern for women. Of course, today in the whole world the production of couscous is almost completely mechanized, but as you can see in some places, it continues to be prepared manually.
In grocery stores, you can find several types of couscous made from different types of grains and with different shapes. For me, the best choice is the whole wheat ones because it contains more fiber and protein and they are less processed.
Is couscous healthy?
The benefits of couscous has a positive effect on the whole body. It is rich in numerous vitamins and minerals. The high content of B vitamins increases your immune system and chronic malaise. In addition, B5 improves skin and hair regeneration.
A large number of important trace elements, like phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper and dietary fiber – contribute to the normal functions of the gastrointestinal tract.
How to cook couscous?
Those who do not know how to cook or do not want to spend a lot of time cooking, I would recommend instant couscous (that has already been pre-steamed and dried). It is available both in portioned and large packages and for its preparation it is enough just to pour some boilings water and hold some minutes under the lid.
So, today I decided to share with you one of my favorite side dishes of this winter – fluffy couscous. This dish is very easy to cook and this thing helps me save some time.
Couscous is crumbly and very tasty, it will be a great addition to any meat and fish dishes.
I love to add some fresh tomatoes in it, so I do not need to prepare an extra salad. Even if it is a punch of carbohydrates I never feel it too heavy.
In most cases, I opt for an instant couscous because it is not necessary to boil it. The secret of perfectly preparing couscous is to know how much water to use. It is important to follow this tip every single time when you are cooking it! The proportions can change a little. For a harder and crumbly couscous, you will need 1 glass of couscous and 1 glass of water, for a more tender dish – 1 glass of couscous and 2 glasses of water. The first option can be used in salads by sprinkling it with a few drops of lemon juice. Softer and more tender couscous is suitable as a side dish for meat or steamed vegetables, especially if you add broth instead of water.
My perfect proportion is for each cup of couscous – 1 ½ cups of water. So, in a saucepan bring to boil 1 ½ cup of water with a pinch of salt. Then pour over it 1 cup of couscous and stir with a spoon. Remove from the heat and cover with a lid. Leave it to hydrate for 5-10 minutes ( see de instruction on your package). After the elapsed time, gently fluff-up couscous with a fork to make it crumbly.
Meanwhile, take about 6 cherry tomatoes and chop them in medium size cubes. Now incorporate them into the couscous by mixing gently. For this dish, I used a simple and fresh dressing. Drizzle couscous with about 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice. Mix again and garnish with some dill.
Serve it as a side dish next to roasted chicken or fish.
- Use the right proportion of water.
- For extra flavor add some seasoning to the boiling water.
- Couscous can be cooked with meat or chicken broth, or be full of veggies – depends on your preference.
- Couscous can be perfectly combined with seafood, especially octopus and fish.
Fluffy Couscous Side Dish
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 ½ cup water
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 6 cherry tomatoes
- In a saucepan bring to boil 1 ½ cup of water with a pinch of salt. Then pour over it 1 cup of couscous and stir with a spoon. Remove from the heat and cover with a lid. Leave it to hydrate for 5-10 minutes ( see de instruction on your package). After the elapsed time, gently fluff-up couscous with a fork to make it crumbly.
- Meanwhile, take about 6 cherry tomatoes and chop them in medium size cubes. Now incorporate them into the couscous by mixing gently. For this dish, I used a simple and fresh dressing. Drizzle couscous with about 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice. Mix again and garnish with some dill.