Couscous is a simple starch-based food item to plate alongside the protein, vegetables, sauce and garnish. The recipe requires a few ingredients, takes no time to cook and can be enhanced with just a few extra ingredients or substitutes. That's why most couscous recipes feature some fairly elaborate variations to try. The dish isn't dull per se. It just begs to be taken to the next level.

The skinny on couscous

For those who are unfamiliar couscous, it's basically some really small pasta--shaped in tiny balls--sold on the market.

It's made from crushing wheat or barley and is prepared similarly to other pasta types. The couscous is steeped into boiling water to absorb it for a few minutes until it becomes soft enough to eat. As such, this recipe pretty easy to make and can be quite versatile as it can be combined with various other foods for some interesting variations.

Making some quality couscous

As mentioned before, couscous isn't challenging to make and can be easily made even better with some interesting switch-ups.

The easiest adjustment is to add some of your favorite vegetables after fluffing. Another way to spice things up is pretty much that. Add some spices like cumin, turmeric, coriander, cayenne, and paprika for a nice Morrocan blend. Or add some cajun spices for a cajun couscous recipe. Besides spices, one can also add herbs and meats too.

Small adjustments aside, the biggest couscous adjustment starts with the water.

Instead of using plain liquid, one can replace it with some prepared stock (chicken or vegetable flavored) for a richer flavor. If there's no stock available, a bouillon cube plus one cup of water should do the trick, though the original is preferred for a better taste. In fact, this simple recipe (below) uses just that to make things even simpler. Try it out.

The recipe

Couscous ingredients:

  • 1 cup (240 ml) boiled water
  • 1 bouillon cube (chicken or vegetable flavored)
  • 1 1/2 cups (225 g) dried couscous
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove the boiled water from the heat and stir in the bouillon cube until it dissolves.
  2. Add the dried couscous to the boiled water and cover for 5 to 10 minutes or until its soft.
  3. Fluff the couscous using a fork and drizzle the olive oil over it. Serve.

Serves: 6-8

Variations

  • Olives and Tomatoes: Combine in 1/2 a cup of chopped olives and sun-dried tomatoes with the couscous after fluffing.
  • Couscous salad: Choose vegetable bouillon. Combine 1/2 cup of chopped red onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers with the couscous after fluffing.
  • Roasted shrimp: Choose chicken bouillon cube. Combine 1 cup of roasted shrimp with the couscous after fluffing.
  • Mixed vegetables: Choose vegetable bouillon. Combine 1/2 cup of canned mixed vegetables (drained) after fluffing.

Did you enjoy that recipe? if you want another simple starch-based food recipes, try this one for a Sweet Polenta dish.

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