Did you know that bringing the correct amount of food to the table is one of the main good habits for following a healthy diet? We often don’t pay much attention, but knowing all the reference portions is really important, and some strategies can help you achieve this goal.
But let’s start with a clear understanding of what is meant by “portion size.” We often hear this term used but do we know how to give it a proper definition? A standard portion of a food is defined as the amount, usually expressed in grams, that is taken as the reference unit of measurement. Easy, right?
Beware because the portion of food defined as standard “serving size” is different from the portion consumed “portion size” in that the latter does not represent a standardized quantity, but is subjective and variable.
But how to determine “by eye” whether a portion is correct?
For some foods actually identifying the quantity corresponding to the standard portion size is easier and can be done by eye. For example, the 150 g portion of fruit corresponds to 1 large fruit or 2 small fruits. And so far so good, with fruits and vegetables it is quite simple, what to do with “bulk” foods?
In this case, we can make use of some simple kitchen utensils such as a spoon, teaspoon, glass, cup, and so on. This will make it very easy to measure portions of oil, legumes, milk, and flour.
What is the right portion to include in one’s food diet?
A pasta dish will be different depending on whether it is dry pasta, fresh pasta, or egg pasta. Risotto and all preparations with rice such as paella deserve a separate discussion. Other differences you will find in recipes with stuffed pasta and with legumes.
In a nutshell, much changes from the type of seasoning we decide to use or the combination with other foods. In general, to give some concrete examples we can consider a balanced portion of 80 grams of pasta per person, 70 grams of rice, 100 grams of gnocchi, and 120 grams of polenta. What about couscous?
How much couscous per person to cook?
For couscous, the issue is a little different because, unlike pasta, it increases its volume a lot during cooking. Therefore, if you have to calculate the portion per person of raw couscous, we recommend about 50-55 g per person. To give you a more precise indication, we tell you that half a medium glass is adequate for one person.
But in couscous, how much water should be added? Let’s start with a simple statement: couscous does not cook, it rehydrates! The most common mistake is to think that it can be cooked like pasta: pouring it into a boiling pot and draining it is not the right way to approach the proper preparation of couscous.
Couscous should be seasoned in a dish and then the boiling liquid added: it is good to make sure to use the same volume of couscous and water with a ratio always one to one.
The tiny grains of couscous needs time to soften: although it is fast to get cooked, the couscous should remain covered for a few minutes so as to capture the steam from the hot water. Once the necessary time has elapsed, the couscous is ready to season.
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