Basic Couscous Recipe

Couscous is fairly foreign to the Singaporean market, because it’s one of those things that isn’t readily available at most supermarkets, or served in many restaurants.

Image by Howly Pek

Famed as a middle-eastern grain, couscous is not a grain at all. Traditional, or Moroccan Couscous, is actually made up of tiny pieces of pasta (i.e. wheat flour and water).

This type of couscous takes hardly any time to cook, as you can see that I have done here. Other varieties of couscous include the pearl or Israeli Couscous, which takes longer to cook in a pot of boiling water. As couscous is made with the same stuff as pasta, it isn’t necessarily a health food, or a healthier version of carbohydrate consumption, unless you’re using wholemeal couscous which is made with durum wheat. In many parts of the world, couscous is treated like rice.

And just like plain white rice or plain cooked pasta, couscous doesn’t boast a robust flavour profile of its own – it’s quite bland. It therefore needs plenty of help and can absorb flavours very well. The couscous I have used here is of the traditional variety, which means it cooks fairly quickly in a bowl of recently boiled water, covered.

Couscous + Flavour

To add flavour and a little pizazz to the otherwise boring carb, I added a teaspoon of stock concentrate (you can use ¼ of a cube of stock, if you don’t use the liquid concentrate stuff), a dash of salt, and a teaspoon of dried herbs to the soaking liquid. This helps the ‘grain’ develop a flavour of its own. You can have your cooked couscous in anyway you prefer. I added some quartered grape tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese and finely chopped onion to the bowl once all the liquid had been absorbed. Then all there’s left to do is toss it together! Pretty simple, huh?

Tamarind Chicken, anyone? 

Image by Howly Pek

 

 

Basic Couscous Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • ¾ Cup Moroccan Couscous (smaller, traditional variety)
  • 1 ¼ Cup Hot Water
  • 1 Teaspoon Chicken Stock Concentrate (liquid form)
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Parsley
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
  • Salt to taste
  • 50g Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • 8 Grape Tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 Medium Red Onion, diced finely
  • Zest of 1 Lemon

Method

  1. To prepare the couscous, place it into a bowl and add all the dry ingredients to it. Then, add the hot water and stock concentrate. If you’re using a stock cube as suggested in the headnote, then crumble it into the hot water before adding the water to the herbed couscous. Leave covered for 5 to 7 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed.
  2. Then, add the feta cheese, tomatoes, onion and lemon zest to the plump couscous. Toss with your fingers or with 2 forks. Serve as a side to any meat that you have prepared in the oven, like my Tamarind Chicken.
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