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Cooking couscous may seem like a very simple task, but you will know that it is much harder than it looks if you have tried to make it previously.
The instructions on the back of a packet of couscous sound simple and only consist of a few basic steps and take no longer than 10 minutes to complete.
It is only once you finish cooking them that you notice that sometimes the couscous is sticky and overcooked or dry and hard to swallow.
I want to teach you one of my favorite couscous cooking methods. Cooking couscous in a rice cooker is super simple if you follow the right instructions.
This post will teach you everything you need to know about couscous as well as how to cook it perfectly in a rice cooker. I hope you find the information in this article useful. Enjoy!
Couscous is a staple carbohydrate in the Middle East. It is a tiny pasta that is usually made out of wheat or barley, and it is sold dry in most supermarkets globally.
It is thought that couscous was invented in either Algeria or Morocco between the 11th and the 13th century. Traditionally, couscous is hand-rolled and served with the main dish, and sometimes it can even be incorporated into deserts.
It is not uncommon to make a rice pudding-like dessert with couscous in some areas of the world.
Couscous is a carbohydrate, so it needs to be eaten as part of a healthy, balanced meal. It certainly is one of the better carbohydrates for you as it has very low salt and fat content and even contains healthy minerals such as zinc and magnesium.
How to Cook Couscous in a Rice Cooker
1. Add Water and Couscous to the Rice Cooker
The ratio of couscous to water is 1:1, so always add one cup of water to every cup of couscous that you add to the rice cooker.
2 Add Kosher Salt
Make sure you add a pinch of kosher salt to the couscous before it is cooked. This ensures that the seasoning is even and cooks into the couscous. You can also add two tablespoons of chicken stock to the uncooked couscous if you want the couscous to have extra flavor.
3 Add Olive Oil
Adding olive oil to the uncooked couscous will stop it from sticking together. If you plan to serve the couscous with something a little sweet, you might prefer to add butter instead. Either way, make sure that you don’t skip this part, as it is vital for keeping the texture of the couscous just right.
4. Set to ‘White Rice’ Setting
Every rice cooker is different, so your rice cooker may have a ‘normal’ setting instead of a white rice setting. You want to cook couscous in the most basic rice setting.
5. Set to ‘Keep Warm’
Once the couscous is cooked, fluff it up in the rice cooker and set it to ‘keep warm’ for a further five minutes. If you are not planning on eating the couscous immediately, you can keep it in the rice cooker on ‘keep warm’ for up to an hour. Make sure you check the couscous regularly to make sure that it isn’t overcooked.
6. Adjust Seasoning and Serve
Taste the couscous to make sure that the seasoning is spot on before serving.
What Goes Well With Couscous
Are you looking for some couscous inspiration? Fortunately, couscous goes brilliantly with almost everything, so if you like experimenting with textures and flavors, you can’t go wrong with couscous! Here are some great couscous meal ideas for you to try.
Milky couscous can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Simply swap out the water for milk, add a knob of butter to the pan to make the couscous extra creamy, and season with a teaspoon of sugar, pinch of salt, and cinnamon. Yummy!
Couscous and Chunky Vegetable Soup
This is one of my favorite couscous dishes. All you need to do is to chop up all of your favorite vegetables and throw them into a pressure cooker with a spot of seasoning and a dash of oil. You can add meat of your liking to the soup in the pressure cooker too, just make sure it is on the bone for added flavor.
Spicy Chicken Breast and Couscous
Spicy chicken breast schnitzels and flavorful couscous are a match made in heaven. I love making a nice, big, hearty salad with this meal and enjoying it with some hummus or tahini.
Slow-Cooked Lamb and Couscous
Slow-cooked lamb stew and couscous is an easy and filling dinner to make, and it is especially convenient if you are having guests over and you want to WOW them with something different.
Ways to Flavor Couscous
Couscous can be flavored in plenty of ways. You can turn your couscous into a couscous salad side, or you can transform it into the heart of the meal just by changing the seasoning. Give these suggestions a go next time you make couscous.
Nuts and Cranberries
Toasted nuts such as pine nuts or almonds are delicious in couscous salads. Dried cranberries add a bitter-sweet flavor to couscous, and the nuts add a divine crunchy texture that works together brilliantly.
Keep it simple and drizzle a bit of lemon juice over your couscous. Lemon juice will really lift the dish’s flavors, so if you enjoy your couscous with a heavy stew or slow-cooked meat course, it will keep the dish tasting fresh.
Herbs make everything taste better. Adding herbs to uncooked couscous and letting them cook together with the couscous will take your side dish to the next level. Make sure you don’t overdo it, as some herbs can be very potent, and a little bit goes a long way.
The good old chicken stock never fails to turn a bland meal into something homemade and heartwarming. I like to add chicken stock to couscous when I am making couscous with vegetable soup.
Finely chopped green olives and couscous go brilliantly when served with chicken. Simple, easy, yet oh-so-tasty!
A sprinkle of sugar will instantly turn this savory side into something sweet.
Cooking couscous in milk instead of water gives it a rich and creamy texture. If you want your couscous to be extra creamy, you can use double or single cream instead of milk and turn it into a pudding.
Cinnamon is great for flavoring your couscous if you are serving it as a dessert or as part of the main meal. For example, porridge-like couscous is delicious with a touch of cinnamon, but cinnamon is also brilliant with sweet chicken savory main courses. Play around with it and see for yourself!
Adding chocolate to couscous desserts is another great way to add texture and sweetness to your couscous dish. You can add chocolate spread or cubes of chocolate to couscous; it all depends on what dessert you are making and what textures will be the best for the dish.
As you can see, couscous can be as complicated and fancy or as simplistic as you want it to be. You can make it the star of the meal, or you can keep it as a side dish; the choice is yours! As long as you get the cooking method right, it will be delicious however you have it!