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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cooking Couscous

Cooking Couscous
How to Cook Couscous?

Normally for a conventional couscous recipe, you would use couscous from a brightly colored cardboard box or a cellophane packet. This is has been pre-steamed and dried. The package directions usually instruct you to add a little boiling water to make it ready to eat. It is important not to boil and whisk the couscous so that you don't end up with a starchy mush. This method can be done quickly and easily by placing the couscous in a bowl and pouring the boiling water or stock over the couscous (and possibly mixing in some butter or olive oil, then covering the bowl tightly. If you do not cover the bowl, condensation may drip upon the couscous, making it mushy. The couscous swells and within a few minutes is ready to fluff with a fork and serve. Steaming and fluffing separates the couscous granules.

You can also use a heat-proof colander inside a stock pot, lining it with a cheese cloth if the holes are too big.

You can also cook couscous like rice. First, you heat butter. Next you add rice and stir it in a pan to give it a good coating. Add stock, bring it to a boil, then reduce heat to lowest setting cover and cook until all the stock is absorbed.

Pre-steamed couscous takes less time to prepare than dried pasta or rice. Nobody would contemplate making the couscous from scratch out of ground wheat flour. Yet, there are other of couscous kinds available, such as barley couscous and Israeli couscous.

Traditional couscous requires a great deal of time as well as a special double boiler called a couscoussiére (aka kiskis).

Since couscous, like most pastas, is not very flavorful it is usually made with flavored stocks, herbs and spices and served with vegetables, nuts or meat.

If you want to double or triple the amount of instant couscous you are making, steam it slowly instead of using the hot water method described on the package.

In addition to being served as a side dish, couscous can be eaten as a porridge, in salads, or even in desserts. Add almonds, cinnamon and sugar or fruit to serve couscous as a dessert. Add peas and beans to couscous to make a salad. Combine couscous with buttermilk to make cold soup.

Lebanese couscous should be cooked by soaking it in water for 30 to 45 minutes.

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