How to cook couscous

How to cook couscous

Couscous is quick and easy to prepare and it’s a versatile ingredient that’s great in salads and meat dishes.

What is couscous?

Couscous is a coarsely-ground semolina pasta that is a dietary staple in North African countries. It is made of semolina, wheat flour, salt and water. Couscous is also widely used in Middle Eastern countries. It has little flavour which means it is often used as an accompaniment with spicy and highly-flavoured food. Couscous can absorb strong flavours easily and makes the perfect base for salads with tasty dressings.

How do I use it?

Couscous can be used as an accompaniment to saucy dishes such as curries, chillies and stews, as a substitute for rice or as a base for salads. Use couscous in burgers mixed with mince to make meat go further or use it in a falafel mix. Couscous can be used as a base for stuffing and it goes well with chopped dried fruits.

Where do I find it?

Couscous is readily available at supermarkets, in the rice and pasta section. It is usually packaged as a pre-steamed, plain or flavoured product.

How do I cook it?

Traditional couscous takes a long time to cook by steaming but the type most commonly available to us has already been cooked. Couscous simply needs to be rehydrated with boiling water or a brief steaming.


Step 1 Place 1 1/2 cups couscous in a heatproof bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups hot liquid (water or stock).

Step 2 Cover with a tight-fitting lid or a plate and leave for 5 minutes to allow the steam to cook couscous.

Step 3 After 5 minutes, use a fork to fluff up the grains. Use as required.

Recipe idea

Honey and chicken couscous

Author: Sarah Swain

Healthy Food Guide

First published: Sep 2010

2017-04-03 17:18:21

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