It’s an easy, quick, and delicious meal, but it’s also pretty easy to screw up because of these cooking couscous common mistakes. So, fully explore the flavor and the potential of this satisfying and nourishing meal, by learning how to cook it properly.
Couscous goes great with salads, grilled or roasted vegetables, and various meats. It’s a dried pasta made from semolina, but its granules are so tiny, that it cooks really quickly. It has become quite a popular alternative to pasta and rice. Now that you can find this food born in North America everywhere, it’s time to learn how to cook it by avoiding these couscous common mistakes!
3 couscous common mistakes to learn from
1. Using water to dampen it
As vital as H2O is, you should not mix it with couscous, because it won’t bring out the flavor in this tiny pasta. It has a bland flavor, so it needs to be infused with other aromas. The desirable alternative to water is any kind of stock, homemade if possible. If you don’t have any stock on hand and you really want to make a couscous dish, then infuse the water with some flavor. Saute some crushed garlic, ginger, and half an onion. Then add the water to the pot.
How do you cook it?
The couscous you buy will probably be precooked. So it doesn’t need any heat. Just pour the hot liquid over the granules, cover them and let them soak in the liquid for 5 minutes. They will become fluffier. Uncover them and use a fork fluff them up even more. Then you can add butter or spices.
It’s important to season the liquid when you’re heating it because the couscous will absorb the salty flavor too. If you add salt at the end, it will be too late!
2. Not fluffing enough
The texture of the couscous grains means that you need to fluff it thoroughly. For a few minutes at least. You can do that with your fingers – but gently. Make sure that the grains are broken up and that no clumps are forming in your couscous dish. Clumpy couscous is terrible.
How to fluff it?
You can use some butter when fluffing the couscous because it will melt in the dish and the grease will help the grains stand apart from each other.
Oh, and don’t let the dish get cold. That’s another way to form clumps on your plate!
3. Too much seasoning
Don’t use a heavy sauce for couscous, because it should never feel wet when eating. And if you cook the couscous properly, it will reveal a lot of subtle flavors. You will miss these if you drench everything in some viscous sauce. Use salt and pepper, fresh herbs, and maybe a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. If you cook it like that, it will be an amazing side for meaty dishes.
Couscous can be the main course splendidly, but only if you don’t overdo it on the other ingredients. Don’t add large quantities of seeds or berries or big chunks of veggies like eggplant. There’s too much of a disconnect between the textures.
How to do it?
If you want to add some other foods to your couscous, then choose wisely – two at most. Try a bit of the couscous with some pieces of those other ingredients and see if the balance is there, in flavor or texture. Trust your instincts and get some practice in! Couscous is not that fussy and you can include it in your weekly meal plan with grace. It has that kind of versatility and possibility.