Couscous is from North Africa. It is steamed balls of semolina. It has an Arabic name kuskus derived from the word kaskasa. This staple food in the North Africa is usually eaten with stews cooked in a tagine. The stew is made of vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and potatoes. It is also accompanied by a meat such as lamb or chicken.

Couscous is made from semolina powder. The semolina is mixed with water and rolled into balls. The balls are sprinkled with flour to keep it seperate. These are then dried and cooked subsequently. This process was initially carried out by hand. My idea of food made with love as it is such an intensive process.

In Nigeria when I was growing up, we had couscous usually for lunch and dinner.  We ate it mostly steamed. Having moved to the UK in my teens, couscous was rarely in my diet however I appreciate it more as an ingredient to add to my recipes now due to it versatility in many different dishes. It is so quick to make and very tasty.  I enjoy steamed couscous. My method of steaming couscous involves an initial dry pan frying to absorb any moisture from the grains. This initial step needs close observation to prevent it from burning, so continuous slow stirring for a few minutes. I have found that about 2-3 minutes is adequate.

I also steam my couscous in stock. Any stock of preference is good either vegetable, chicken or meat stock.

When cooked properly usually very tasty to eat.  My recent post on luliucuisine (instagram please follow the link above)“Pan cooked duck on a bed of couscous with shiitake mushroom side”  the couscous was steamed in chicken stock and parsley.

The aroma from the steamed couscous is breathtaking. I have also added couscous to soups as a four. This can thicken the soup so add sparingly. Couscous is nice in salads which would be featured soon in luliucuisine so follow luliu on facebook and instagram (follow the links above).

The nutritional information for couscous. It is nutritious but it must be eaten in moderation. The breakdown- 85% carbohydrate, 1% fat and 14% protein. In a serving of 100g there are 112 calories.  When combined with vegetables alone or vegetables with meat in a stew or with gravy it is a balanced meal.

Look out for further recipes through the year that would include couscous. Recipes are featured in Luliuscuisine daily. Luliurecipes would be launched soon, please watch this space.

Be adventurous, try a new recipe with couscous and leave me some comments.

Have a great weekend.

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