Consisting of many tiny granules made from steamed and dried durum wheat, couscous has become a popular alternative to rice and pasta. It has a light fluffy texture which is a little bland in flavour but which readily soaks up the flavours of other ingredients.
Couscous originates from North Africa, and is the staple ingredient in the North African diet. The term couscous also refers to dishes made with combinations of meat, vegetables and spices and combined with the semolina.
Watch how to cook couscous with our video guide:
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Precooked couscous - where you only have to add boiling water to create light fluffy grains - is readily available from supermarkets and is very quick and convenient.
Pour one cup of lightly salted boiling water or stock over 1 cup couscous. Cover and allow the couscous to swell for 5 minutes. Fluff up couscous with a fork and add butter and spices if desired.
Can be kept for up to a year in a warm, dark place.
Try semolina or polenta.