Vegetarian Pyramid Series - Couscous

Monday, June 15, 2009

Posted by DK

“Eating Balanced Meal is everything” - How many times have we heard this? But for a full time working woman, making a meal 3 times a day is big deal by itself – leave alone making it ‘Balanced’!! So does that mean we get slack about eating a healthy meal – of course not. What we can do is to make sure that we incorporate ingredients in such a way that not only they are fast to make, but also easy, delicious and nutritious too! “Awe come on, you got to be Kidding me!” I hear ya, but it’s true that indeed you can.

The vegetarian Pyramid Series that’s been going on for past few months is going to showcase one such ingredient today – Couscous! When the hard wheat is ground, it leaves few granules which resisted grounding which is what we call semolina. This is actually the endosperm of wheat which has proteins, mineral salt and also floury mass which is what constitutes the making of Pasta.

Although the term ‘couscous’ also refers to a cooking method, I am just going to focus on Couscous instead.Although the original couscous (called as Rolling Couscous) takes longer and requires more prep work to cook, nowadays the ones available are pre-steamed and hence reduces the cooking time drastically.

Image source :

From my research, I have come to believe that there 3 main types of couscous available.

Moroccan couscous:

This is probably what you would find most often in your shop aisles. These are commonly available and are tiny yellow semolina pasta. All you have to do is to boil sufficient amount of water, turn off the flame, add the couscous and let it sit for 10 minutes with the lid on. The couscous is done when all the water is absorbed and all you have to do is to fluff it with a fork and serve! Wasn’t that easy? Innumerable have been the times when I have just boiled some vegetable stock, added few frozen vegetables along with couscous – a little bit of seasoning and tada! Lunch/Dinner is ready.

Check out a yummy Moroccan Tagine with Couscous

I also find a Whole Wheat couscous variety which is lightly brown in color and cooks the same way as the regular yellow couscous. There is not much of a difference in taste.

Israeli Couscous:

This variety takes a little longer to cook than the Moroccan variety, but I have come to like it way lot than the former. It has more chewy texture to it which I love. These are larger than the Moroccan type, beige white in color, about the size of peppercorns

Colorful, filling and delicious Israeli Couscous Recipe

Lebanese couscous:

This is the largest of all couscous types. I have personally not been able to get my hands on them, but they are supposedly the size of small peas. The cooking process, naturally, is longer then the usual couscous and is more suited for cooking like the way you would do for Risotto.

Note: Make sure whether you have bought the traditional or instant type of Couscous. The traditional couscous takes a longer cooking time, where it is originally steamed in a specialized steamer called as “couscoussiére.”

Health Benefits: It is immensely low in fat and is enhanced with complex carbs. It is rich in dietary fiber, protein, potassium etc

This post was written by Dhivya

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I love how you explained each of the 3 types of couscous. I know I use the first type when ever I am in a bind for finding something to make for dinner. I will have to keep my eyes open for the other 2 types. Great post! =)

Shandy said...
June 16, 2009 at 4:05:00 AM GMT+2  

WOw thats interesting useful information dear

June 16, 2009 at 6:29:00 AM GMT+2  

Even I've only tried the first two types so far. I end up using the first kind as a substitute for rice very often, and with it being so easy to make, my excuses for eating out fade away :) Thank you for this informative series Divya.

Priya said...
June 16, 2009 at 3:18:00 PM GMT+2  

great overview! in my opinion there is nothing like couscous cooked the "traditional" tagine way - steamed over a flavorful stew.

Sarah said...
June 19, 2009 at 9:33:00 PM GMT+2  

This looks delicious. I never knew you could do so many things with couscous. It is something I want to try to use in the future. :D

Ellie said...
June 21, 2009 at 12:48:00 AM GMT+2  

@Shandy : Thank you :) I think you will be able to find Israeli if you look hard enough - But sure do update me if you get your hands on the Lebanese ones! I am curious.

@Pavithra,@Priya - thank you girls. I use them as rice substitute too.:)

@Sarah - I agree, you are so right

@Ellie - Its amazing what one can do with couscous - I make patties even loaf too. Will post them in my blog soon.

Dhivya said...
June 21, 2009 at 5:43:00 AM GMT+2  

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