Cous cous -- whole grain product? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 01-25-2003, 10:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm in a state of cous cous confusion. :

I got some because I thought it was a whole grain product, but then I figured I was confusing it with Bulgar, but then I read somewhere that cous cous was a great way to get whole grains into your diet, but then I saw cous cous described as a pasta product...and now I just don't know what to think.

Who can enlighten me on the natural history of cous cous?

(and, BTW, what is the difference between cous cous and Bulgar?)
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#2 of 15 Old 01-26-2003, 12:21 AM
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From Alphabet Culinary Terms (http://home.earthlink.net/~hans48/culinaryterms.html):

Bulgur/Bulghur: A precooked, cracked wheat product. To make it, the whole wheat kernel is soaked, cooked and dried. It has a nutty flavor and comes in sizes from fine to very coarse. It is used in the Middle-East. Bulgur will absorb twice its volume in liquid.

Couscous: Is cracked semolina or chickpeas, it is a staple in North Aficia. It comes in two ways regular and instant. These pellets of semolina usually cooked by steaming, traditionally in a couscoussiere. Also, the dish with which this grain is traditionally served.

Hm. I thought couscous was a rolled semolina product, and didn't know about the chickpea possibility. Note that couscous grains can come in different sizes, as well.
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#3 of 15 Old 01-26-2003, 12:31 AM
 
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There is whole wheat couscous and non-whole wheat couscous, in the small "cracked grain" type that we mostly see here in the US. There is also Israeli-style couscous that's big fat pearls, which I've only seen in the non-whole-wheat variety.

The package should say whether it's whole wheat or not. If it doesn't say, it probably isn't.

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#4 of 15 Old 01-26-2003, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, mamas!

I'm feeling a little less confused, but I still have some questions.

The couscous I have is from the bulk bin, so no package to read for info. However, there was a little blurb posted on the bin calling the couscous a cracked semolina product. Does that mean it's whole wheat?

We had some last night. It tastes good!
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#5 of 15 Old 01-26-2003, 02:33 PM
 
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There's no real way of telling whether your couscous out of the bin is whole grain or not. Maybe ask the store manager to find out?

Semolina is just the name of a wheat that's often used for pasta, but it may or may not have been hulled before being cracked for the couscous.

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#6 of 15 Old 01-26-2003, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you!

I just might ask the store manager. They might want to put a more detailed label on it. I'm sure I'm not the only customer to want to know.

Well, I enjoy a little mystery now and then. Thanks for helping me get to the bottom of this one. I'll keep you abreast of the continuing investigation.
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#7 of 15 Old 01-28-2003, 12:20 AM
 
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Both co-ops I shop regularly have bothe "white" and whole wheat couscous. I buy only the whole wheat vatiety and find it cooks quickly if left to steam a couple minutes, but then it's only used in one recipe
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#8 of 15 Old 01-28-2003, 12:32 AM
 
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my understanding is that semolina is a product of duram wheat - duram being the whole wheat, semolina being the "refined" product. Couscous, I understood, was the nutty, hard part of the wheat - so wouldn't have a bran attached, and therefore not whole wheat. Which is why it's considered pasta, because semolina pasta is just the wheat ground up into dough. Very little additives required at that point.

But, it may have been a limited explation. I hadn't heard the chickpea description of couscous. It's still pretty new to me.

cheers,
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#9 of 15 Old 01-28-2003, 12:39 AM
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Couscous is a cross between a grain and a pasta. It is made from cooked and dried semolina. The tiny grains are cooked like rice, absorbing all the cooking liquid. The refined flour it's made from is not enriched with vitamins, so couscous is low in nutrients.


In order to perk up it's nutritional value I've made it with carrot and beet juices before.
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#10 of 15 Old 02-17-2003, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, all you mamas, for your info.

I'm no longer in a state of cous cous confusion. I'm in a state of cous cous contentment.

I looked again at the bulk section of the food co-op and saw that they sell both whole wheat and light cous cous.

I got a big scoop of the whole wheat and tried it.

It's great! Cooks just as fast as the lighter kind, and tastes delicious.

Lovin' my cous cous!
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#11 of 15 Old 02-17-2003, 06:32 PM
 
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Yum yum cous cous! I made one of my favorite cous cous recipes, Cous Cous Paella, from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home last night. Here's how:

Chop: four scallions, whites and a couple inches of green parts
1 red bell pepper
Mince 4 cloves garlic

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a 4 quart saucepan, add veggies along with 1 tsp coriander, 1/2 tsp turmeric, and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Saute for a couple of minutes. Add 2 cups of warm veggie stock or water. Add 8 oz of cubed tofu (pressed and drained if it's plain, but I like to use pre-packaged marinated tofu). Add 1 c. frozen green peas and 1 c. raisins. Simmer for a few minutes until everything's nice and warm.

Add 1 c. whole wheat or regular cous cous, take off the heat, and put a lid on it. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed. Stir, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice, sliced almonds, a little chopped parsley if you feel like it.

Yum yum yum! I usually double the recipe, I love it so much.

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#12 of 15 Old 02-17-2003, 09:20 PM
 
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That's the recipe I use couscous in!!! My mother uses it too, only she uses shrimp instead of tofu. I rather doubt my dad'd eat tofu

I crumble up some low fat feta cheese for the top, yum!
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#13 of 15 Old 02-17-2003, 09:37 PM
 
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Try it with the raisins; that's my addition to the recipe!

That's one of my favorite cookbooks. It's battered and stained, but I love it!

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#14 of 15 Old 02-17-2003, 11:55 PM
 
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Dear MDC:

I thought that Couscous was millet. I could be wrong.
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#15 of 15 Old 02-18-2003, 12:40 AM
 
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couscous and millet are two different things. millet is its own grain, couscous is processed, like pasta, from wheat.

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