Why it Works: Creating Couscous
Although it may look like a seed or a grain, couscous is actually pasta. Unlike spaghetti or macaroni, couscous is not extruded or rolled out and cut into pieces. Instead, couscous is made by hand. Native to the North African countries of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, couscous is one of the world’s first pastas. To make it, durum semolina flour (a harder, coarser wheat than used in regular wheat flour) is mixed with water and rolled between the palms of the hand. With time and a great deal of patience, small pellets of pasta are formed, steamed and finally dried. Traditionally, couscous is steamed in a large pot (called a couscousiere) above simmering stews called tagines. The boxed couscous available in stores is much easier to prepare because it has already been steamed and dried so it is ready to cook.