Made from semolina which has been mixed with water to form small pellets, couscous is a traditional high carbohydrate staple food from north Africa. It has a light, fluffy texture when cooked and is usually served like rice with a meat, fish or vegetable main course. Several flavoured varieties of couscous are available including lemon and garlic, garlic and coriander, raisins and sunflower seeds and tomato and onion. Once cooked couscous should be fluffed up with a fork to separate the grains, before serving.
Uses: Serve with stews or casseroles - it is particularly good served with lamb dishes. It can be served plain or with the addition of flavourings such as garlic, chilli, coriander, lemon or lime juice. Roasted Mediterranean vegetables can be stirred through the couscous once cooked - as well as giving a delicious flavour this adds colour to the couscous.
To store: Keep in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.
To cook: Couscous needs very little cooking, it can be simply heated, steamed, or cooked in a microwave. To heat, place 250g couscous in a bowl and pour over 400ml of boiling water plus 1 tbsp oil, cover and leave for 5 minutes. The couscous is ready to serve but it can also be steamed after this for an even lighter result.
Transfer to a steamer and steam for 6 to 7 minutes. To cook in a microwave oven place 250g couscous in a large bowl and pour over 400ml of boiling water plus 1 tbsp oil. Stir well and cover. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes and then stand for 5 minutes before serving.