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Couscous: Tips and Techniques

Couscous is a type of pasta that works well in cool summer salads and in hot winter dishes

If you are unfamiliar with couscous, then the sight of it will make you think it may be a type of rice. The tiny grains are about the size of a pinhead, which makes it a delicate, yet tasty discovery.

Make quick and easy couscous salads by adding any of your favorites such as fruits or vegetables. Toss with a vinaigrette and you have a simple side dish to enjoy in the heat of the day.

Couscous is readily available at grocery stores, and is a staple in most markets that carry Middle Eastern and North African food products. It becomes a more hearty dish when combined with lamb, chicken, and vegetables as a main meal. One such dish is Couscous a la Marocaine (Moroccan Couscous), which includes meat, garbanzo beans, and a host of vegetables.

Americanized recipes have emerged that incorporate salsas, sirloin, and frozen corn, among other ingredients. You can also add stocks and flavorings to the water before boiling couscous.

Some North African dishes are on the sweet side with raisins, currants, cardamom, and cinnamon.

Basic couscous preparation:

-For each cup of packaged couscous, add 1 ½ cups of liquid.
-Bring the liquid to a boil, add the couscous, and stir.
-Cover tightly and remove from heat.
-Let sit for 10-12 minutes.
-Fluff with a fork to separate grains.

It is important to not overcook couscous or add too much water.

For a quick salad, toss in: black beans, drained corn, chopped tomato, green onions, and a bit of fresh cilantro. Coat with olive oil and lime juice for a true taste treat.


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