Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Learning how to properly prepare couscous - work in process

I love to much couscous not only because it's very easy to prepare - maximum 20 minutes if you are lazy enough - and very tasty too. Also, you can add various spices - za'atar, of course, but also cumin, and some dried parsley and even some cayenne pepper - veggies - such as carrots or tomatoes, scallions and garlic. It goes well with various types of oils - cotton being the less recommended, and olive the favourite. However, there is something always missing from my couscous recipes, mainly the real experience of preparing it in the traditional way, as it is done in Morocco or the Middle East.
Till will be able to take part to a live exercise of preparing real couscous, I tried to update my bibliography and have a look at various videos and traditional explanations and recipes. Based on the latest lectures and conversations, I improved a little bit the couscous recipe, as follows:
- before starting the cooking, I add 4-5 tablespoon of flour and mix it for 60 seconds till the entire composition is homogeneous. Did I say that I try to mix it with hand, feeling the special texture of the grains?
- talking about mixing, acquiring homogeneity after each ingredient added. It will take longer to prepare the recipe, but at the end you enter the ancestral pace of the genuine couscous experts. 
- limit the amount of water added. I used to add around 1 cup of water for 2 cups of couscous, but I rather preferred to be more generous with the oil - 4 to 6 tablespoon. 
- add the oil first, then the spices and then the garlic. For the bigger veggies - such as tomatoes - the cooking time takes longer and thus you better add them when the composition is almost done and hot enough for a proper preparation. 
Right now, I am very far away from a successful couscous maker, but following my personal motto of learning at least one new thing every day, I promise to improve soon and share a genuine experience.  
Soon...very soon... 

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