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Basic Couscous with Variations

No recipe image available.Couscous, a staple in Morocco and North Africa, is fast gaining a place in Western kitchens alongside rice and noodles. This tiny North African pasta is quick to cook and adapts to a variety of recipes. Quick-cooking varieties require only a brief soaking in hot water, a plus for the busy cook! Be sure to use couscous made from 100% semolina, as the whole wheat variety is best used only as a breakfast cereal.

Recipe Ingredients:

2 cups water, chicken, beef or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups instant semolina couscous

Cooking Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water or desired broth and butter to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Gradually, stir in the couscous. Remove from heat, cover and set aside to steep for a minimum of five minutes.
  3. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Butter and Parsley: Stir 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley with 3 to 4 tablespoons softened butter into the cooked couscous.

Lemon or Lime: Add 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon of the grated peel to the water.

Moroccan: Add 1/4 cup currants or raisins, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric and 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin to the water.

Nut: Stir in 1/2 cup toasted chopped nuts with the couscous.

Sun-Dried Tomato Basil: Add 4 to 5 rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped, 2 green onions, sliced, and 1 garlic clove, minced to the water. Stir in 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil with the couscous.