Couscous is very popular in Mediterranean and African cultures.
An experienced cook will never ask the question: "What is it - couscous?". For us ordinary people, this word seems exotic. In the Mediterranean and African cultures, this cereal with a delicate taste and unusual texture is very popular.
Since ancient times, Arabs and Berbers have considered couscous a symbol of prosperity and well-being.
A traditional dish of the peoples of Africa
The Arabs and Berbers (African peoples) couscous since ancient times is considered a symbol of prosperity and well-being. Each region and even each family has its own secrets of its preparation. However, one thing remains common - respectful attitude to this dish.
Today, couscous is made from semolina, barley or millet, and its production has an industrial scale. However, African women once prepared it by hand from millet.
This process was rather monotonous and time consuming. A wooden slightly concave board was slightly sprinkled with flour, and then millet was poured onto it and sprinkled with salt water a little. Then the grain began to roll over the surface until the grains were assembled together and turned into small balls of 1-2 mm in size.
Water in couscous was added in small portions, gradually. Flour was also added in small portions. The finished couscous was sieved through a special sieve so that the sizes of the grains were the same. If it was made for the future, it was carefully dried in the shade, and then poured into storage in clay pots.
Outwardly, this cereal is very similar to rice - sticky grains have the same size and round shape. Since couscous has a slightly pronounced almost neutral taste, it is able to fully adopt the aromas and flavors of other dishes and seasonings. It is this feature that is widely used in cooking.
Since couscous has a slightly pronounced almost neutral taste, it is able to fully adopt the flavors and flavors of other dishes and seasonings.
Recipes couscous (bulgur) a lot. It is considered an excellent garnish for meat or fish and one of the most successful elements of salads. You can use this golden cereal as a breading.
Tip! Varieties of couscous are many. However, they all differ only in grain size. The methods of their preparation mostly coincide. For example, ptytim, a Jewish dish, has a similar composition, but larger grains.
With moderate use of couscous dishes, you will receive not only great pleasure, but also undoubted benefit. After all, this cereal contains:
- potassium, without which normal functioning of the heart muscle is impossible;
- carbohydrates with an average glycemic index; when consumed, blood sugar does not increase irregularly, as is the case with heavy carbohydrates, but gradually;
- minerals: mainly phosphorus, copper and iron;
- vitamin A, contributing to the normalization of metabolism and strengthening the immune system;
- B vitamins involved in almost all biochemical processes of the body.
With moderate use of couscous dishes, you will get not only great pleasure, but also undoubted benefits.
Doctors say that the use of couscous is also in the fact that it absolutely does not aggravate the stomach and causes only a slight saturation. However, due to the high caloric content of this type of cereal, it is desirable to use it only 1-2 times a week.
Tip! Couscous, as well as semolina, is able to cleanse the intestines of mucus and excess body fat.
How to make couscous cereal at home?
Of course, homemade couscous will be slightly different from groats. However, if you do not have it at hand, you can experiment and cook it with your own hands. Just as the oriental women once did.
For this you need to take:
- half a kilo of semolina or finely ground in the coffee maker of corn grits;
- 250 g of water (it is introduced in three steps);
- a teaspoon of salt;
- slightly modify the standard recipe for couscous and add vegetable oil for better adhesion of the grains; enough 1/4 cup.
We describe the cooking process in stages:
- Stir the croup thoroughly with salt.
- Add vegetable oil to it.
- Stir the mixture by hand so that it carefully envelopes every grain.
- Slightly add water (1/3 of the norm). We continue to grind the grits.
- Again in 2 steps add water.
- To get grains of the same size, wipe the obtained couscous through a colander.
Of course, homemade couscous will be slightly different from groats. However, if you do not have it at hand, you can experiment and cook it with your own hands.
- Boil it better for a couple. To do this, a napkin is spread in the upper bowl of the double boiler, and croup is poured onto it.
- So that in the finished porridge did not form lumps, after 10 minutes we take out couscous and carefully, trying not to damage the grains, break it with a wooden bow.
- Re-send couscous to a steamer for 15-20 minutes.
- As a result, we should get equal in size, slightly transparent and well-cooked grains.
Tip! Cooked couscous can be frozen. Preheated in the oven or microwave, it does not change the taste.
Traditionally couscous was cooked in a clay pan - Borme. Its design is very similar to the modern steamer. At the bottom of the broth is prepared and steamed vegetables. Prepared grits are placed in the upper part with the holes for steam.
Today there are several options for cooking couscous:
- usually, as we described in the previous section, it is soaked and then steamed; so that the grains do not wake up, they are laid out on gauze;
- soak porridge can be both in hot and cold water; liquids are added a little - so that it covers the cereal only a centimeter;
- to get crumbly grains, after swelling, it is necessary to lubricate the hands with vegetable oil and carefully loosen the couscous;
- original recipe without cooking: add a small amount of olive oil to couscous; the resulting mass is mixed and carefully rubbed with hands; then it is poured with boiling broth so that it only slightly covers the cereal; pan covered with foil and left to stew for an hour;
To get crumbly grains, after swelling, you must lubricate the hands with vegetable oil and carefully loosen couscous
- You can cook this cereal in a slow cooker; First, water or broth is brought to a boil, then grits are added to it (1 cup for 2 glasses of water) and oil; leave the couscous in the "heating" mode for 5-10 minutes;
There is a steamed couscous on sale, which does not need to be boiled - just add hot water and steam for 10 minutes.
Tip! Couscous can and just pour milk - in 10-15 minutes your light and hearty breakfast will be ready.
The best dishes
Now you know what it is - couscous. It's time to do the recipes. We selected for you only a few of the most popular and not too difficult to prepare.
Salad "Ringing of coins"
If you try at least once a light and nourishing couscous salad, you can finally understand why Eastern people love this cereal so much. It is better to cook this dish in summer, in the season of ripening tomato and sweet pepper.
First, you need to prepare the cereal itself - boil it for a couple or pour boiling water and leave it for 20 minutes for it to be well swollen. While she is preparing, cut vegetables:
- 200 g of cherry tomato cut into halves.
- Cut into two parts and a dozen green olives.
- Add to the salad bowl sweet pepper and 200 g of cheese, diced.
- Here we send greens (cilantro, mint, basil). Since cilantro is not loved by everyone because of its sharp taste, it is added at will.
- Pour cooled cereal into vegetables and salt to taste. We throw a handful of Zira (cumin). Sprinkle with lemon juice. Stir.
- Our salad is ready.
If you try at least once a light and nourishing couscous salad, you can finally understand why Eastern people love this cereal.
Interesting! It is curious that a creature with a similar name is found in Australia. The couscous animal belongs to marsupials and is valued not only for high-quality fur. Local housewives are happy to cook all sorts of dietary dishes from his meat.
Vegetable soup with Khamsin couscous
The combination of tender couscous with vegetables gives a very unusual effect. For cooking light soup without meat under the exotic name "Khamsin" will need:
- a glass of ready-made couscous;
- glass of water;
- two sweet peppers of small size (for our dietary dish to be bright, it is better to take colored ones);
- two carrots;
- small head of garlic;
- spoon of vegetable oil;
- any spices: you can take coriander or basil, although their choice depends only on your taste;
- a mixture of peppers.
Prepared and peeled vegetables are cut into small cubes. The onions are fried in oil, then the rest of the vegetables, salt, and spices are added to it and filled with water. Since carrots, peppers and eggplants are cooked quickly, 15 minutes will be enough to extinguish them. Ready vegetable dressing mix with couscous.
Chicken and Couscous Soup
It is possible that this light soup with couscous and chicken will soon become your signature dish. Due to the fact that his recipe includes a minimum of ingredients, its preparation takes a minimum of time.
We will need only a few products:
- half a chicken or a pair of hams;
- several potatoes;
- small carrots;
- a handful of couscous;
- any seasonings and herbs we love.
The combination of tender couscous with vegetables gives a very unusual effect.
First, boil the usual chicken broth over low heat. To make it perfectly transparent, you should not put it on a strong fire - the water in it should only boil a little.
In the finished broth, throw potatoes into cubes, grated carrots and cook until ready. Couscous and spicy herbs are added at the very end of cooking. Turn off the stove, torment the dish for another ten minutes and call the whole family to the table.
Tip! Couscous soup is very good not only hot but also cold.
On the preparation of such a side dish will take no more than 20-30 minutes. Take for cooking the following ingredients:
- a glass of couscous;
- water 2 cups;
- 1 piece of onions and carrots;
- curry seasoning, it can be replaced with a mixture of turmeric and ginger;
- unsweetened soy sauce.
Since it is necessary to stir the already prepared couscous carefully, so as not to damage the stuck grains, it is better to pre-mix the dry cereal with salt and seasoning. Fill the mixture with boiling water and leave for 10-15.
On the preparation of such a side dish will take no more than 20-30 minutes
While the porridge is steamed, sauté the onion in vegetable oil, then add the carrots, cover the pan with the lid and simmer until tender. At the end, add steamed couscous and serve our side dish with soy sauce to any meat or fish.
Tip! Be sure to add ginger and turmeric to any side dish of couscous. They will give the dish a golden hue and exquisite taste.
Surprise guests by serving this exotic African dish cooked on the basis of couscous on the table. Although the basic recipe contains sheep meat, it can be replaced with chicken, lean pork or beef. In addition to the kilogram of meat, we need:
- chickpeas (a special type of pea, popular in the east) 60 g;
- pre-soaked swede: a couple of pieces;
- 2 large carrots, sliced;
- 1 onion average in size;
- raisins pre-boiled in a little water;
- vegetable oil for stewing meat and vegetables;
- 2 tomatoes;
- dry or sliced ginger;
- 0.5 kg zucchini or pumpkin;
- 100-150 g of green beans;
- pepper (it is advisable to find cayenne pepper, but if it is not there, you can get by with red);
Cook couscous in a double boiler or soak it in boiling water. Well steamed groats gently knead with a spoon to remove the formed lumps.
Couscous can be cooked in a double boiler and a slow cooker
Meat, onions, chickpeas, carrots and swede pour water half finger. Add the same vegetable oil and pepper. Stew them for about an hour until the peas are ready. Next, throw in the pan raisins, beans, pumpkin and tomatoes and cook for about half an hour. Then pour the resulting couscous sauce, report the meat in the plate and serve to the table.
Tip! In Egypt, this porridge is considered a healing dish. Local doctors necessarily give her seriously ill to recuperate. In those parts, it is also recommended for feeding premature babies.
Quick recipe for sweet couscous
This golden porridge is also used to prepare some sweet dishes, for example, masfufa - couscous dishes with the addition of grapes, nuts and dried fruits. You can use it simply with sugar, syrup or honey.
We describe the easiest recipe for sweet couscous. A glass of cereal you will need a handful of raisins, on the tip of a knife of cinnamon, butter, sugar or honey. The cooking process is simple. We steam out porridge, throw butter there, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Raisin is added already ready, pre-boiled.
Tip!In the postoperative period, doctors often advise to use semolina, which contains it in sufficient quantities, to compensate for the lack of iron. If you are not lovers of this porridge, replace it with salads or couscous side dishes.
This golden porridge is also used to prepare some sweet dishes, for example, masfufa - couscous dishes with the addition of grapes, nuts and dried fruits
Since couscous is still a highly nutritious product, there is enough controversy about the possibility of its use for people with impaired metabolism. After all, as you know, any high-calorie foods can lead to excessive weight gain.
Careful use of couscous in their dishes should be when:
- propensity to corpulence;
- high blood sugar levels;
- intolerance to gluten, contained in large quantities in semolina.
Tip! Lovers of this dish can be advised to use it with vegetables, non-sweet fruits or berries and citrus fruits to reduce the glycemic index. In this case, couscous will hardly harm your figure.