WHAT IS A COUS COUS?
It is NOT a grain, it’s a pasta! Yes, that’s right it’s just semolina flour mixed with water and dried into tiny grains. However unlike with other pasta cuts like orzo, the section of the durum wheat grain that doesn’t grind well is used. The name is originally from the Berber language meaning rounded or formed. It’s neutral flavor makes it the pasta equivalent of tofu (it take’s on whatever flavors are around it). Fitting for savory and sweet recipes (breakfast, lunch and dinner) it also hydrates and cooks very quickly making it a time saver in any North African kitchen. In terms of different varieties, Moroccan is the smallest and healthiest by a very slim margin. On the other end of the spectrum is Lebanese cous cous (a.k.a. moghrabieh) which is the largest varietal. All of the above are available using either durum or whole wheat flour.
WHY IS COUS COUS GOOD FOR YOU?
It’s high in both fiber and selenium! However being a pasta means that it’s also rich in carbohydrates.
WHEN COUS COUS IN SEASON?
Being a man-made pasta, it’s in season whenever you feel like making it.
WHAT KINDS OF RECIPES USE COUS COUS?
The answer depends on what region of the world you’re discussing. In Moroccan and Algerian recipes, chicken, lamb and potatoes are common pairings. In Tunisia, seafood recipes with harissa are popular complements while in Libya camel is a more popular choice and in Egypt it’s a dessert.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COUS COUS AND QUINOA?
While they are similar in appearance, one is a pasta and the other is a grain. Quinoa is a whole grain that is a healthier option then cous cous. However both are relatively neutral in flavor and can be interchangeable in recipes.