Couscous is a North African dish originating in Morocco and consisting of small balls of semolina wheat boiled, to which hot or cold water is added and cooked until it develops a light consistency.
Couscous is a staple food of North Africa, Northern and parts of Central Africa, the Middle East, and the Maghreb, and is also popular in many other countries.
Origins And History Of Couscous
In North Africa, couscous is thought to have originated in southern Algeria some 3,000 years ago.
It was brought northward by the Arabs during their invasion, who eventually became masters of Andalusia (now southern Spain).
The Turks also introduced couscous to the Maghreb region (Morocco and Tunisia), which is widely eaten today.
What Is Couscous: How To Prepare Couscous?
Couscous is mixed with water and placed over heat until it absorbs the water and expands, usually making a hard ball.
When this occurs, the couscous is moist and fluffy with no lumps left. When done, it is stored in a container for preservation for later use.
You can then add other ingredients to cook with it once you have prepared the couscous. Some popular dishes using couscous include Chicken Tagine, Lamb Tajine, and Vegetable Tajine.
Popular Dishes Using Couscous
Chicken Tagine and Lamb Tajine are meat, vegetables, and seasonings cooked in a stew with seasoning.
Vegetable Tajine is basically the same thing as Chicken Tagine or Lamb Tajine, but with the addition of vegetables.
Variations Of Couscous (Such As Whole Wheat Or Flavored)
Whole wheat couscous is actually a different variety of couscous than regular couscous. It is much larger than regular couscous and has a nuttier flavor to it.
It is also more healthful than regular couscous because it has all the nutrients found in whole grains such as oats, wheat, and corn.
Overview Of The Nutritional Content Of Couscous
Couscous is one of the lowest in fat, sodium, and calories among grains. It contains almost no saturated fat and no more cholesterol than other whole-grain foods, such as oatmeal and brown rice.
Because it’s made mostly of carbohydrates that are easy to digest, couscous provides a steady source of energy.
It’s also high in fiber. In addition to being low in fat, sodium, and calories, couscous is very free from cholesterol.
One serving of couscous contains less than 1 gram of fat, less than 1 milligram of cholesterol, and 6 grams of carbohydrates. Optimal whole grain intake also has many other health benefits:
Comparison To Other Grains
Following are some comparisons between couscous and other grains:
Couscous (which is made of semolina) and rice are interchangeable. They contain the same amount of fiber, but couscous has more protein and less fat than either.
Whole wheat couscous is a whole grain, whereas white wheat flour is refined to remove the bran and germ from the endosperm that is in whole wheat flour.
Whole wheat couscous provides more fiber and iron than white-wheat flour does, as well as more protein than either does.
Health Benefits Of Couscous
Almost all the fiber in couscous is soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is known to slow the passage of food through the digestive system by binding with bile acids, delaying their passage through the intestine and possibly lowering cholesterol levels in the blood.
Soluble fiber also helps regulate blood sugar levels and helps lower blood cholesterol levels.
Couscous is a very high-fiber food, which is great for helping with weight loss by reducing the amount of hunger one feels. It’s also higher in fiber than most other grains, making it ideal for someone trying to eat healthy or maintain weight.
Couscous is also a very versatile food because you can use it for various dishes such as vegetables, chicken or lamb, and even desserts.