Do you know how to cook couscous exactly? Long time ago I used to prepare couscous in those super artificial portioned boil bags. Just because those were easy and quick to work with back then, perfect portions. The couscous was always very moist and at times a bit too tacky. Still delicious.
But something told me that it was far from the fluffy couscous you get in good Moroccan restaurants. I didn’t know why exactly, just couldn’t put a finger on it.
This was up until the moment I visited an authentic Moroccan restaurant here in town, named La Boya. I ordered a steaming bowl of yellow couscous. It was covered by the most amazing vegetables such as okra and turnips with tomatoes and grilled sardines.
It opened my eyes: so this was the real stuff then! Because it was light, flavorful, crumbly and far from my soggy version. I wanted to make that kind of couscous at home as well!
How To Cook Couscous
So I started experimenting a little at home to find out how to cook couscous properly. I realised that the trick for perfect couscous isn’t all that complicated really. The poach method below is the one I prefer the most.
Good to know: the ingredients below, 6 oz (170 g) of dry couscous and one cup (240 ml) of hot stock in the end result in about 1 lb (450 g) of cooked couscous.
I stopped using those instant boil bags back then, now that I knew how to cook couscous the right way.
If you’re in for a bit of fun, spice up your hot stock with flavors and fragrant spices. Spices such as cloves, ground curcuma, cumin, coriander seeds, chili powder, ras el hanout, cinnamon, grated lemon zest…
Simmer the hot stock and spices for a while and pour it through a sieve in the end. A great way to bring more flavor into your dish!
Watch my recipe video about how to cook couscous the right way!
Nowadays the talk of the town is this new kind of couscous called m’hamsa, a type of hand-rolled Tunesian couscous. It has bigger grains the size of wheat grains. Never tried them before but they appear to be fantastic. Even Michelin star chefs use them often.
I cooked with pearl couscous before but I prefer to boil it instead of using the method below: the grains are far too large to cook through. Take a look at my mediterranean lemon and pearl couscous soup for instance! I also added pearl couscous to my roasted pumpkin salad.
Here is another handful of couscous recipes for you to try out.
First off my favorite and my second most popular recipe here on my website: Turkish kisir, a couscous salad with tomato paste, freshly chopped herbs and raw onion! Or how about a full dinner meal: my savory lamb stew with couscous!
Or do you prefer my hearty lamb kofta skewers over orange couscous? Perhaps you are looking for a vegetarian couscous dinner idea? Then you should also check out my colorful vegetable couscous with a bunch of spices!
Find two more couscous salad recipes below as well: one with merguez sausages and another one with lemon, pine nuts and olives!
How To Cook Couscous: The Method
How to cook couscous in 10 minutes!
- 6 oz dry couscous (170 g)
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock (240 ml)
- 1 medium garlic clove peeled
Pour the stock in a medium saucepan and place it over medium heat until boiling. Add the dry couscous and garlic clove to a heat resistant glass bowl. Season with a pinch of pepper and salt.
- Pour in the piping hot stock and then quickly stir the couscous using a fork because you want to avoid any couscous lumps later.
- Cover the dish with cling film or a lid for 10 minutes while the couscous is absorbing the hot stock. Don’t stir the couscous or remove the lid (or cling film) to check.
- After 10 minutes, remove the lid (or cling film) and stir the couscous. Break up any couscous lumps and stir until the couscous is fluffy. Discard the garlic clove.
- You can add extra wet ingredients to the couscous such as olive oil, lemon juice or diced butter. Then cover the couscous again and let it rest for another 5 minutes.
- Give the couscous another good stir. Then add any other spice, herbs or condiments that you want. Check the seasoning and add extra pepper or salt to taste if necessary. Serve the couscous warm or cold.
Greek Merguez Couscous SaladThis couscous salad might look like a kind of a classic Greek salad because it also contains fresh cucumber, chopped tomatoes, dried herbs, olive oil and feta cheese.
Yep indeed, but then I also added some extra savory ingredients to it to make this salad an even yummier and wholesome filling lunch salad!
So I added cooked couscous for instance, and how about a couple of savory baked and sliced merguez sausages? Sounds and looks definitely like a winner dish if you ask me!
I only had a huge bunch of fresh parsley at home but I would have liked to add some extra fresh mint or even cilantro to it as well. Just to make that flavor explosion even brighter. Enjoy!
Good to know: for this recipe you need about 3 oz (85 g) of dry couscous and half a cup (120 ml) of hot chicken or vegetable stock. How to cook couscous: take a look at the first recipe on top of this page.
Couscous salad with merguez sausages, cucumber, tomato and feta!
- ½ lb cooked couscous (225 g)
- 2 medium merguez sausages
- 4,5 oz fresh cucumber (125 g)
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- a bunch fresh parsley chopped finely
- 2 oz feta cheese (55 g)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp dried herbs
- olive oil
- Pour a little olive oil in a non-stick pan and add the merguez sausages.
- Place them over high heat and bake them on all sides for a couple of minutes until cooked through. Then take the pan off the heat and let the sausages cool down a little. Chop the cherry tomatoes and cucumber into small dice and add them to the freshly cooked couscous. Season with a little pinch of pepper and salt. Add half of the lemon juice and the dried herbs.
- Stir well. Slice the cooked merguez sausages up into bite-size slices. Add them to the couscous as well.
- Stir again. Now add the freshly chopped parsley. Crumble the feta cheese over the couscous between your fingers.
- Stir the couscous salad again. Check the seasoning and add extra pepper, salt or the rest of the lemon juice to taste if necessary. Scoop the couscous salad onto a large serving dish and serve at room temperature.
How To Cook Couscous with Lemon & OlivesThe best protein that I find the perfect company for this lemon couscous: grilled fresh fish and a couple of juicy lamb chops… preferably cooked on the barbecue. Can you smell that then? There’s summer in the air!
Couscous sides and salads are great dishes to prepare in advance because those are just the kind of dishes we need when throwing summer garden parties!
Do you need more inspiration?
Good to know: for this lemon couscous salad below you need about 9 oz (250 g) of dry couscous and one and a half cups (360 ml) of hot chicken or vegetable stock.
How to cook couscous: take a look at the first recipe on top of this page. After preparing couscous numerous times I’m sure I’ve found the perfect ratio between the dry couscous and the amount of stock to add.
My fresh lemon couscous salad with green olives, mint, lemon zest and pine nuts!
- 1 ½ lbs cooked couscous (675 g)
- 10 green olives pitted
- a handful pine nuts
- a handful fresh mint chopped
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 tbps lemon zest grated
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- Slice the pitted green olives and add them together with the cooked couscous, the pine nuts and the grated lemon zest to a large mixing bowl.
- Stir the couscous well. Add the freshly chopped mint, the olive oil, the lemon juice, the cinnamon powder and the coriander seeds. Season with a pinch of pepper and salt.
- Stir the couscous salad well again. Then check the seasoning and add extra salt, pepper, lemon juice or cinnamon to taste.
- Serve the couscous at room temperature with grilled fish or lamb chops!
Chickpea Salad with CouscousAre you looking for a wholesome lunch?
Or healthy side?
Then this chickpea salad recipe with couscous is a guaranteed success. I always keep canned pulses in my pantry. And also couscous. The combination of both is often a delicious last-minute side salad or lunch here at home.
I start the recipe by preparing fresh couscous but you can also use cooked couscous from the day before. It’s a great way to use your leftovers! I added carrots and shallots but any other vegetable will also do of course.
Are you looking for another couscous salad?
Then also check my Turkish couscous salad (kisir) with tomato paste and onions!
This chickpea & couscous salad is a healthy side dish!
- 4,5 oz canned chickpeas (125 g), drained weight
- 3,5 oz dry couscous (120 g)
- 4/6 cup vegetable stock (160 ml), warm
- 1 medium fresh carrot chopped
- 1 small shallot chopped
- ½ tsp garlic paste
- a handful fresh parsley chopped
- olive oil
- ground cinnamon
Add the couscous to a large bowl or saucepan (one with a lid) and pour in the hot stock.
Stir quickly and then put a plate or lid on it to cover.
Let the couscous swell and absorb the stock for a few minutes. In the meantime pour a little olive oil in a saucepan and add the chopped carrot and garlic paste.
- Place the pan over medium heat and gently cook the carrots for 5 minutes. Stir regularly. Then add the drained chickpeas.
Stir and cook for another 2 minutes. Then stir in the chopped shallot and fresh parsley. Season with a pinch of pepper, salt and cinnamon.
Also add the cooked couscous.
Stir well. Then check the seasoning and add extra pepper, salt or cinnamon to taste. Let the couscous salad cool. Serve at room temperature.