Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Wonder Friend. Wonder Friend Wonders, “What is couscous?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Wonder Friend!
Different parts of the world are known for different foods. If you went to Italy, you might expect to eat what? Pasta, of course! What about the area of the world you live in? If someone came to visit you, what kinds of foods would you feed them?
Have you ever thought about taking a trip to Northern Africa? Just think about all the wonderful sights you might be able to see in places like Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya! Even better, think about all the awesome foods you would be able to try.
One of the foods you'd definitely be eating quite a bit of is couscous. In some areas of the world, you might see it spelled kuskus. But what exactly is couscous?
Couscous is a staple pasta dish that is an important part of many meals in Northern Africa. Couscous is also eaten all around the world, as it has been shared with other parts of the world that have grown to enjoy the tasty dish.
The earliest known recipe for couscous comes from a 13th century Moroccan cookbook. Couscous is still known as the Moroccan national dish.
Couscous is made from semolina, which is the hard part of the grain of hard wheat. Water is used to bind two different sizes of the husked and crushed semolina. Unlike other types of pasta you may be familiar with, couscous resembles small pellets.
To make couscous, cooks sprinkle water over the semolina and use their hands to roll it into small pellets. They then sprinkle the pellets with dry flour to keep them from sticking together.
The pellets are then run through a sieve, which separates out the pellets that are too small. These leftover pellets are rolled again to form larger pellets and sprinkled with flour again. This continues until all the semolina has been formed into pellets of couscous.
As you might imagine, this can take a lot of time. In the old days, groups of women would gather together to make large batches of couscous over the course of several days. Most couscous today is made by machines in factories.
The finished, dried couscous is cooked using a steamer, so that it turns out light and fluffy. Couscous is usually eaten with a meat or vegetable stew served over it. Today, couscous is popular in many countries around the world, including France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece.
You can find instant couscous in most grocery stores today. It's pre-steamed and dried and just requires you to add boiling water and a few ingredients. Plus, it's good for you! Couscous is one of the healthiest grain products and has more vitamins than most other pastas.