When it comes to cooking a “starch” for your meal, there are few sides easier to make than couscous. It’s simple, versatile and incredibly fast to cook—it’s ready in just 5 minutes! I've made a lot of couscous when testing recipes, and through all of that cooking I picked up on these 5 mistakes to avoid in the pursuit of perfect couscous.
Pictured Recipe: Easy Whole-Wheat Couscous
Although couscous looks like a grain, it’s actually pasta. Make sure what you’re buying is whole-grain. You’ll get an added boost of fiber. You may also notice Israeli couscous at the supermarket. This kind of couscous has larger granules and cooks differently than the smaller variety, and it is also not whole-grain.
Although couscous is pasta, it actually cooks more like a grain. You can’t just dump dry couscous into a pot of boiling water and drain it. Make sure you’re using the right water-to-couscous ratio, which is 1 cup water to 2/3 cup couscous.
The couscous we buy at the market today is pre cooked. That means it’s pretty much ready to go right out of the box–one of the main reasons we love it so much. But it really only needs 5 minutes in very hot or simmering (not boiling) water (it varies by brand) to let moisture seep back in. So once you bring the water to a boil, don’t forget to take it off the heat after you add the couscous to prevent overcooking.
Those tiny granules of couscous need time to soften. Make sure your pot remains covered to capture the steam from the hot water. Otherwise, you run the risk of undercooking your couscous, causing it to be chewy or crunchy.
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Right out of the pot, couscous can be dense. Fluff it gently with a fork by scraping the surface and breaking up the clumps for light and fluffy couscous.
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