Couscous is made from semolina, a type of wheat that is a staple of north African and Moroccan cooking.
Instant couscous is a fabulous ingredient to have in your pantry as a standby accompaniment to your mid-week dinners or as the star of a couscous salad for work as it literally takes only 10 minutes to prepare.
It's easy to get perfect, too. Here's how.
How to cook couscous
To make a simple couscous for four, you'll need:
- 1 ½ cups (300g) instant couscous
- 20g butter, chopped
- 1 ¼ cups (310ml) boiling water or chicken stock
Then, choose a medium-size shallow bowl or casserole dish so that the couscous grains don't get weighed down. Add the couscous to the container and dot with the butter.
Evenly pour over boiling water or stock and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to stand for 5 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff the surface of the couscous until the grains are separate.
For extra soft and fluffy couscous you can steam the couscous in the microwave. Cover the couscous with plastic wrap and microwave on MEDIUM (50%) power for 2 minutes, stirring with a fork halfway through cooking.
Couscous recipes to start you off
You can simply serve basic couscous as an accompaniment to your tagine or hearty stews and casseroles but by adding a few simple flavours it becomes the star of the meal.
Two of our favourites are:
SPICY COUSCOUS RECIPE
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan, cook 2 teaspoons each of harissa paste and smoked paprika and 2 thinly sliced green onions, stirring, for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add couscous to the pan with 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar and stir to combine. Serve with fetta and extra green onion.
OLIVE AND PINE NUT COUSCOUS RECIPE
Stir ½ cup of pine nuts in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat for 3 minutes or until golden. Add the couscous to the pan with ½ cup of sliced green Sicilian olives, 2 teaspoons of finely grated lemon rind, ¼ cup of lemon juice and ¼ cups of small flat leaf parsley leaves. Stir to combine.