Couscous is among the most convenient and easy to make food products out there.
It is available in almost every household as a quick alternative to foods like noodles, rice, quinoa, etc.
Most people also love couscous due to its versatility in creating a wide range of recipes.
Whether you want to boil, fry, bake, or toss them in your salads, you can have couscous any way you like.
Despite its popularity, there are still some misconceptions about what exactly couscous is or what does couscous taste like.
Thus, we're here to clear all such confusion around this North African staple.
If you want to learn more about couscous and some delicious cooking tips for couscous, you might want to read on.
Before anything else,
What is Couscous?
In a nutshell, couscous is a type of dried tiny pasta made from wheat flour and semolina. The two ingredients are moistened and tossed in a pan until they form tiny balls.
When it comes to varieties, there are three common types of couscous, such as the Israeli, Lebanese, and Moroccan.
The Moroccan couscous is the smallest sized couscous, available in most grocery stores. Because of their small size, this type of couscous is also available in instant-cook variation.
However, make sure to check the package to find out if the Moroccan couscous is instant-cook couscous. If not, you'll have to follow the usual method of cooking or steaming the couscous.
The next type is the Israeli Couscous, which is larger than the Moroccan couscous. It is available in whole wheat varieties and has a more pasta-like taste as compared to other varieties.
Lebanese couscous or Moghrabieh is available either in dried or fresh versions. It is usually larger than other varieties of couscous and looks similar to a chickpea.
What Does Couscous Taste Like? Does Couscous Taste Good?
The flavor and texture of couscous can vary from one type of couscous to another. However, in general, most small-sized couscous may have a tender and coarse texture, while larger varieties may lean more to the chewy side.
Couscous is often compared to quinoa, as they look extremely identical. However, you should know that they are two separate things.
Couscous is made manually by flour, while quinoa is a type of whole grain. However, you can use couscous as an alternative to quinoa and vice versa, in various recipes.
Couscous has a mild and neutral taste. Though it is a type of pasta, in reality, it doesn't actually taste like pasta.
It's just that since it is made of wheat flour and semolina, couscous may give off a slightly nutty flavor.
Due to its mild flavor, you can use couscous with almost any ingredients without an overpowering taste.
Whether you want to use it as a simple side dish or turn couscous into a whole main course, it is easily possible!
However, there is more to couscous than just its flavor. Couscous is also rich in nutrients and is a great source of protein.
Though it is not gluten-free, couscous can be a healthy option for both vegans and vegetarians.
Let's look at what nutrients ¼ cup of dry couscous contains. This is data shown by the USDA National Nutrient Database.
As you can see, couscous is notably low in fats but high in proteins. Thus, there is no doubt that couscous is healthy.
How to Cook Couscous?
As said earlier, couscous is a versatile food product. There are endless ways to cook it. However, it also depends on the type of couscous you're cooking.
For instance, in case of instant Moroccan couscous, it'll hardly take around 10 minutes to cook it. You can either have it on its own or mix it with nuts, fruits, salad, and other spices.
When it comes to larger couscous like Israeli or Lebanese, you'll have to simmer it in lots of water on the gas-stove. After cooking it, you can add them to your sauces, soups, and stews.
You can also cook couscous similar to rice. Just heat some butter in a pan and add 1 cup of couscous along with 1 ½ cups of water or stock (any flavor you prefer). Bring the ingredients to a boil, and let it simmer on low heat settings.
Then, all you have to do is wait for the liquid to get absorbed. But make sure not to cook it for too long as it may turn the couscous mushy. And you wouldn't want that!
Some experts recommend you to season the liquid or stock before adding the couscous. This step may result in a more flavorful couscous.
Once you're all set with the couscous, we recommend you enjoy it while it's still hot or at room temperature. Serving cold couscous may create unwanted clumping.
Couscous is an easy-to-make, convenient, and healthy food product. It may not be as nutritious as other whole grains like brown rice and barley.
But couscous does have some nutritional benefits we cannot deny. Also, if you opt for whole wheat couscous, you'll find the nutritional content even more.
If you haven't tried couscous at all, now can be a great time to try this delicious North African staple food.
Here are some delicious couscous recipes that you can try in the comfort of your own home to help you get started!