When it comes to preparing Couscous – the sky is the limit. With the abundance of products and brands these days, anyone can enjoy this tasty Moroccan dish and adapt it to their personal eating habits. Whether you have a gluten allergy, you are watching your calories or enjoy a light, flavourful meal – Martino’s range of pre-made Couscous products cover all the basics to bring you a rich nutritional food that can be prepared with vegetables, meat, fish and broth to suit your taste.
How to Prepare Couscous
When it comes to jazzing up Couscous, you can pretty much do anything you’d like. Add almonds, pomegranate seeds, chorizo, saffron, spices and herbs – you name it. Check out these basic Couscous recipes that are fast and easy to prepare. All cook in under 30 minutes, and many in as little as ten for the ultimate healthy and tasty feast after a long day at work or in the middle of a lazy weekend day.
Making Couscous by hand, as has been done since ancient times, is seriously time-consuming task. But the versions sold in Western stores like Martino’s range are machine made, pre-steamed and dried to allow for very quick cooking. In fact, 5 minutes is about all it takes for the tiny grains to steam once your liquid has come to a boil. The liquid can be water but using chicken or vegetable broth is the most common flavour enhancement.
In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add salt and stir. Add Couscous and remove from heat and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Couscous should be light and fluffy, not chewy. Be sure to allow the Couscous to absorb the water and then fluff with a fork. Serve as the base for a stew or as a side dish.
How to Serve Couscous
In North African cuisine, steamed Couscous is usually the base for a stew with plenty of vegetables and some lamb or even chicken and fish. But it also can be made into a dessert, common in Egyptian cooking, with cream, sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. It also makes a great side dish mixed with plenty of fresh parsley and some toasted pistachios for a satisfying crunch.
Basic Couscous Recipes
Spiced herb & almond Couscous
- red onion, halved and sliced
- 425ml hot chicken stock (from a cube is fine)
- pinch saffron
- strands, optional
- 1 fat red chilli, sliced
- 500g Couscous
- 2 x 20 packs coriander, leaves only
- 50g toasted whole almond
- handful dates
- roughly chopped (we used medjool dates)
- juice ½ lemon
Heat some oil in a roasting tray and then add the onions and fry for about 5 minutes until just softened. While you’re frying, add the saffron strands to the stock if using, so the flavour and colour infuses. (If you are making the Fragrant chicken too (see ‘Goes well with’) use the same pan to add flavour to this dish and leave the juices in there, but you can tip out some of the chicken fat if you like).
Tip the chilli into the tray, fry for 1 min more, then take off the heat. Add the Couscous and stock, then cover with cling film for 10 mins. Once the Couscous has absorbed all the stock, quickly chop the coriander (if you chop it too soon it will start to wilt), then fork it through the Couscous with the almonds, dates and lemon juice and serve straight away. To serve cold, leave to cool, then add the chopped coriander just before eating.
Saffron-scented Couscous with pine nuts
- 3 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 2 cups Couscous (about 12 ounces)
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (about 5), divided
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted , divided
Bring broth, 2 tablespoons butter, saffron, and 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt to boil in heavy large saucepan, stirring to melt butter. Remove from heat. Mix in Couscous. Cover and let stand until all liquid is absorbed and Couscous is tender, about 10 minutes. Fluff Couscous with fork. Mix in remaining 1 tablespoon butter and half of green onions and nuts. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mound in bowl. Sprinkle with remaining green onions and nuts.
- 1 1/3 cups instant Couscous
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 medium zucchini, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and minced
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup basil leaves, torn in half
- 1/4 cup Nicoise olives, pitted
Place the Couscous in a large bowl. Bring 2 cups of lightly salted water to a boil. Pour the water over the Couscous and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 10 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and zucchini and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and onion, along with the remaining ingredients, to the Couscous and mix well. Season with additional salt and freshly ground pepper, if desired.
Couscous With Beans, Avocado, and Scallions
- 1 cup Couscous, cooked according to the package directions
- 1 15.5-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed
- 1 avocado, cut into bite-size pieces
- 4 scallions, sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- kosher salt and black pepper
Let the Couscous cool. Fold in the beans, avocado, scallions, lime juice, olive oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. This makes an especially quick salad or main dish for a light lunch or dinner.
All of these recipes can be prepared with your choice of Martino’s range of Couscous products made from high-quality durum wheat. If you’re watching your weight or have a gluten allergy, we recommend the Al Naturale range with corn, chickpea or rice Couscous, 100% organically-cultivated, highly digestible and low-fat. Specifically thought for people with gluten intolerance, yet perfect if you are looking for a light change in your everyday life while retaining the great taste and texture of our authentic Italian Couscous.