Couscous is a great alternative to rice, pasta and potatoes. Rich in carbohydrate, couscous makes an interesting accompaniment to meat and fish dishes. In fact, couscous is versatile enough to also be eaten as a porridge or even as a desert with fruit and yoghurt.

Couscous is a granular form of semolina wheat and has been a traditional dish in North Africa for over a thousand years. If you’re feeling adventurous, or just in need of a different taste sensation, why not learn how to cook couscous and give your family a treat?

How to Cook Couscous – the Easy Way

Generally, the couscous you find in supermarkets is a quick-cook variety and you need to be careful not to over cook it and create a glutinous mess that will put the kids off it for life.

Here’s an easy, failsafe way to cook couscous.

  • Place 2 cups of couscous in a heavy bowl.
  • Boil 2 ½ cups of water and add to the couscous.
  • Add ½ a teaspoon of salt.
  • Stir with a fork.
  • Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes
  • Uncover and fluff up with a fork – the grains of couscous will have absorbed the liquid without becoming mushy.

Cooking Couscous – an Olive Oil Variation

To impart a richer, nuttier flavour to your couscous try the recipe below.

  • In a saucepan, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • When the oil is hot add 2 cups of couscous and a good shake of salt.
  • Cook for 2-3 mins until the couscous is golden, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
  • Add 2 ½ cups of boiling water.
  • Remove from the heat and cover.
  • Let the couscous sit until all the water is absorbed and the grains are soft – about 5 mins.
  • Loosen the couscous with a fork and serve.

More Flavour

Alone, couscous can taste somewhat bland. While the main taste centre of your meal will be the meat or fish you serve with it, you can add more flavour to the couscous itself by substituting beef, chicken or vegetable stock for the boiling water in the recipes above.

The flavour of couscous can also be punched up by adding pine nuts, currents, oregano, thyme, basil or cinnamon before you add your boiling liquid.

Give it a Go!

Now you know how to cook couscous, give the family an exotic treat. Who knows, you may have found a dinner-time favourite to add to your recipe repertoire.

Want to learn more about how to cook Couscous? Check out this video.

How to Cook Couscous, 4.5 out of 5 based on 2 ratings

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  1. Paula Beckett says:

    It would be useful to know how many people this would serve – there is no indication as to whether this is enough for two, four, or twenty!

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    Rating: 4.0/5 (4 votes cast)
  2. Eugenie says:

    I’m not surprised there aren’t more comments on these pages – I typed out a nice response to the Paula’s above message but do you think I could get that ‘capture’ word right? The first one is near on impossible to read! I only managed it this time because I kept refreshing the page until one came up that I thought I could read!

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    Rating: 3.0/5 (3 votes cast)
  3. Eugenie says:

    Let’s try again.
    Paula, if you use the above recipe I think you’ll find it a dismal failure. Couscouse needs AT LEAST an equal quantity of liquid. 2 cups of couscous would need more than 2 1/2 cups liquid or you’ll end up with a hard rock. Anyway, 2 cups will feed about 6 – 8 people. When I prepare it for myself I use 1/4 cup of couscous to 80 mls of boiling water with a chicken stock cube crumbled up. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice plus some of the zest. The amount of zest depends on your taste. Also add some fresh chopped parsley and thyme. Lemon couscous is delicious with fish!

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)

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