Couscous is a native Arab dish, made of semolina (tiny granules of durum wheat) which is cooked by steaming. It can be served with meat or vegetable stew. Couscous is a staple food throughout the North African cuisines of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania and Libya. In Nigeria, it is one of the staple foods in the North. It is a light yellow grains made from semolina granules(durum wheat). It seems like the popular yellow garri in southern Nigeria
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Couscous is a coarsely ground pasta made from semolina: a type of wheat. Just like macaroni and spaghetti, couscous is made from semolina flour, and rather than mixing the semolina with a prescribed amount of water and/or egg into a dough, couscous is made by rubbing the semolina between moistened hands until the flour combines with just enough water to form hundreds of tiny grains.
How couscous is prepared (Do it Yourself approach).
Obviously preparation process takes a light touch, lest the grains combine into a gooey mass but once you learned it, it is one of the simplest forms of making pasta. Semolina is sprinkled with water and rolled with the hands to form small pellets, sprinkled with dry flour to keep them separate, and then sieved. Any pellets which are too small to be finished granules of couscous and fall through the sieve will be again rolled and sprinkled with dry semolina and rolled into pellets. This process continues until all the semolina has been formed into tiny granules of couscous. This process might seem very labour-intensive but it is worthy and lovely. In modern times, couscous production is largely mechanized, and the product/brand is sold in markets around the world. In Nigeria, Golden penny flour has a brand on it.
Properly cooked couscous is light and fluffy, not gummy or gritty. The base is a tall metal pot shaped rather like an oil jar in which the meat and vegetables are cooked as a stew. On top of the base, a steamer sits where the couscous is cooked, absorbing the flavours from the stew. The lid to the steamer has holes around its edge so steam can escape. It is also possible to use a pot with a steamer insert. If the holes are too big the steamer can be lined with damp cheesecloth. There is little archaeological evidence that early diets include couscous, possibly because the original couscoussière was probably made from organic materials which could not survive extended exposure to the elements. After the couscous grains are formed, they are dried and steamed over a stew usually made from lamb, in a special pot called a couscoussière. Steaming couscous is an involved operation, requiring sealing the top of the couscoussière to its bottom with rags dipped in flour paste, and then interrupting the steaming several times to rub the softening couscous grains to ensure that they remain separate.
Fortunately it is no longer necessary to go through all that labour, due to the broad availability of instant couscous(brands). This product has already been steamed and then dried again before it is packaged. It needs only to be soaked in boiling water until it swells a process that takes about 10 minutes. The couscous that is sold in most supermarkets has been pre-steamed and dried, the package directions usually instruct to add 1.5 measures of boiling water and butter to each measure of couscous and to cover tightly for 5 minutes but i will advise you not to make use of butter but rather make use of extra virgin olive oil. The couscous swells and within a few minutes it is ready to fluff with a fork and serve. Pre-steamed couscous takes less time to prepare than regular couscous; most dried pasta, or dried grains (such as rice).
Couscous doesn’t have a lot of flavor on its own, but it works well as a base for vegetable or meat dishes. It also mixes beautifully into salads and can be flavored with herbs, spices, vegetables, dried fruits, nuts, and meat added.
As a Healthy and Weight Loss Meal.
If you have been struggling to lose weight, love to be eating healthy and watch your weight at the same time, then couscous is an excellent slimming meal you should indulge yourself. You should include it in your strict meal plan. It will actually help you lose weight and protect you from a wide range of diseases. It swells in the stomach which means you will feel fill up more quickly and tend not to eat so much but moderate. It is an excellent source of carbohydrate, low-fat and low-calorie content. When converted to glucose, it is slow compared to other refined carbohydrates such as white bread. It boosts energy rather than lethargy. Instead of adding butter which increases fattening, you can make use of lemon juice which is a good source of vitamin C or healthy oil such as extra virgin oil. Lemon juice also contain quercetin which acts as an anti-oxidants(defenses our body from free radical).
Couscous has 3.6 g of protein for every 100 calories. Furthermore, couscous contains a 1% fat-to-calorie ratio. Based on 1 cup(173 g), it has 176 calories content, saturated fat 0.25 g, zero tran fat, zero cholesterol, 17 mg sodium, 79 mg potassium, 36 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fibre, zero sugar, 6 g protein, zero vitamin A and C, 1% calcium and 2% iron. It’s a very neutral and nutritious base for all sorts of dishes.
Ensure you include it as part of your healthy and weight loss meal plan. For more meal for fat loss and flat belly on Nigerian recipes, click here.