Couscous confused with whole grain

By: Donna Miller

Couscous (pronounced kuskus or kooskoos) is a typical North African food that has become popular in many countries. Couscous is often confused with being a grain, but in fact is more of a pasta and not a whole grain at all. The couscous granules are made by rolling and shaping moistened semolina wheat, the same wheat from which most dry pastas are made. It is then coated them with finely ground wheat flour to assist in the tiny granules of pasta to keep from sticking.

Traditional couscous requires considerable preparation time and is usually steamed. In many places, a more-processed, quick-cook couscous is available and is particularly valued for its short preparation time. Couscous is traditionally served under a meat or vegetable stew. It can also be eaten alone, flavored or plain, warm or cold, or as a side dish.

If you thought you were eating a whole grain product (such as rice) when eating couscous, perhaps making the transition to millet will be of interests.  Millet is a whole grain, low in gluten and high in protein. When soaked overnight and then boiled (the same duration as couscous) it has a very similar end product as couscous, but all the benefits of whole grain and bonus benefits of protein. Use soaked millet exactly as you would instant couscous. It too can be flavored with stock or juice in the boiling and makes a fantastic side dish or main course with additions.

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