North African dish

Couscous is a traditional North African dish of small steamed granules of rolled semolina that is often served with vegetables and a stew spooned on top.

Couscous with vegetables and chickpeas

Couscous is not cooked, but rather steamed (over hot water), and is usually served as a main dish. Spices are indispensable, the most commonly used ones are Ras El Hanout, ginger, pepper and turmeric. These spices are added to the broth with chicken or red meat and vegetables. The stew should be plentiful because the couscous grain is dry, therefore absorbant.

Couscous can also be served cold. In this case, may be the base of a salad accompanied with seafood, or it may be used to make Tabouleh. Couscous can also be used for sweets, by adding milk, raisins, or almonds.

Origins change

Couscous originated in North Africa also known as the Maghreb. It is now popular in Armenia and the Middle East. Due to the immigration of North Africans to multiple countries around the world, the dish has nowadays gotten increasingly known in other areas like southern France, Sicilia and Brazil.

Different types of Couscous change

Brazilian cake made with couscous

In Brazil, couscous is a typical dish from the Northeast of the country, which is part of the three meals of the day. Being commonly prepared with starch, wheat flour, corn, rice or cassava. In Southeast, it is consumed with butter, eggs or meat. In North, it is more common for couscous to be eaten for breakfast, made with coconut milk and accompanied by tapioca. In general, all types of side dishes are accepted in the country. Other examples of foods eaten with couscous are fish, shrimp, and chicken.

Couscous is sold in most supermarkets across Europe and the United States and has been pre-steamed and dried; the package instructions usually mention adding 1.5 measures of boiling water or stock and butter to each measure of couscous and to cover tightly for five minutes. The Couscous then swells and within a few minutes it is ready to fluff with a fork and serve. Pre-steamed Couscous takes less time to prepare than regular Couscous.

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