Couscous is a staple food throughout the North African cuisines of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania and Libya as well as in Israel due to the large population of Jews of North African origin. In Western supermarkets, it is sometimes sold in instant form with a flavour packet and may be served as a side or on its own as a main dish. Couscous is a Berber dish made from moistened semolina wheat and flour and it is commonly used in countries. It is traditionally served with a meat or vegetable stew but you can use it alongside almost any dish.
Though we think of it and cook it as a grain, couscous is actually a type of pasta. It is one of the easiest, fastest, most versatile side dishes you can make. It is wonderful especially with stews or saucy main dishes. Depending on which brand you buy, you will find that there is some variation on the suggested proportions of liquid to couscous. According to North African tradition, couscous is a symbol of good luck, abundance and blessings.
It is very easy to turn couscous into a crowd-pleasing favourite because naturally it has a mild taste just like rice, but it can easily take up the taste of any spice, vegetable or meat that is used to cook it. It‘s simple, inexpensive, nourishing and flavourful. This can easily be put together in a snap, can easily be doubled for a crowd and you can even use it as meal prep for the week because it stores really well and it can also be made with or without meat for a vegetarian twist.
How to Make Couscous
- To start, bring the cooking liquid preferably a flavourful chicken or vegetable broth to a boil in a medium pot. Add a drizzle of olive oil, a pad of butter and a little salt.
- Next you add the couscous.
- Take the pan off the heat, cover and let the couscous steam for 5 minutes.
- When you lift the lid, the grains will appear flat in an even layer. Use a fork to fluff it up and break up the clumps for light and fluffy couscous.
How to Make Chicken Vegetable Couscous
A blend of scotch bonnet, garlic, onion, bell peppers and spices adds a touch savoury and spicy to this meal. It is full of flavour and really quick to make, this meal will be a winner with all family. With a little practice, chicken vegetable couscous surprising will be easy to make yourself.
- 3 cups of couscous
- 2 ½ boneless chicken thighs
- 4 tablespoon of oil
- 4 scallions
- 2 red bell pepper
- 1 scotch bonnet
- 1 cup of onion
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 2 ½ cups of chicken stock
- Black pepper and salt to taste
- Make sure the liquid comes to a rolling boil before adding the couscous.
- Instead of water, you can use chicken stock; it helps to intensify the flavour.
- You need to use a very good stock otherwise; your food might turn out bland. If your stock is not concentrated enough, feel free to use a stock cube too.
- If you or your kids don’t love it spicy, you can leave out the scotch bonnet.
- For a slightly nutty flavour, add some sliced almonds
- Add some dark or golden raisins for a sweet variation.
- Simply skip the chicken for a vegetarian version.
- Couscous can be made in advance, so if you prefer just reheat it in the steamer the next day for an enjoyable complement.
- heat two tablespoon of the oil in a medium pan over medium heat, add the chicken season with salt and black pepper, paprika, curry powder and cook till done. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Heat the other two tablespoon of oil, add the onions, scotch bonnet, garlic and bell peppers. Stir fry for five minutes. Stir in half of the green onions; add the stock and leave to come to a rolling boil.
- Add couscous, briefly stir, cover immediately, and take it off the heat and leave to rest for few minutes.
- Stir in the chicken, the remaining green onion and parsley.
Couscous is very easy to work with and you can customize it in any way you want and it takes little time to prepare. It is a good way to make good use of whatever veggie happens to be lingering in your crisper drawer begging to be used. Some people like to add raisins and dried fruit to their couscous; this is especially delicious if served with meat stew. You can enjoy couscous hot or cold, plain or seasoned, it all depend on your preference.