From Semolina to Couscous
Have you ever had freshly hand-rolled couscous? If you have, you would be able to differentiate it from their instant-boxed counterparts. If you haven’t then you came to the right place. I’ll get you cooking! There are lots of ways to make couscous from scratch and this is how I make it at home.
Couscous is made from semolina through a stemming and rolling process, making sure the semolina gets the right amount of moisture for a perfectly fluffy couscous. It really sounds harder than it actually is. It might not be perfect the first time but if you are a couscous lover, you will love and enjoy the process and hey, you will be making YOUR OWN couscous, how cool is that?
There is some equipment you need to have before you start, of course a couscoussier would be very helpful but if you don’t have one (I don’t), you can improvise. I use THIS steamer insert and it works really well. You also need a sieve, one with a large size holes. Here is a photo tutorial I put together to help you understand the process better. I hope this post will inspire you to throw a Moroccan feast that will impress your friends and family.
2 cups semolina
2 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
water, as needed Spread the semolina on a large tray. Sprinkle with the oil and a little bit of water (I use a spray bottle, it works great). Gently start rolling the semolina with the palm of your hand in a circular motion. The idea is to add a little moisture before we steam it, but don’t over do it, it will get more moisture while it’s being steamed. This step will take you about 5 minutes. If you have big clumps, don’t panic, just try to gently break them, it will all be smooth once we sift it.
When ready, Add the semolina to the steamer, let it steam undisturbed for 30 minutes (some people like to cover it some don’t, I cover it for the first steam only). After the first steam, transfer the couscous back to the large tray, stir it with an spoon to fluff it up and release some steam also, try to break the clumps that might have formed, be careful, it will be HOT. Sprinkle more water like we did the first time then back to the steamer. Steam again for 20 minutes then transfer it to the tray and repeat the process but this time add the salt. Put it back into the steamer for the last time and steam it for 20 more minutes. Fluff it up and sift it. At this point you can flavor it however you like (herbs, spices etc…) or serve it as is.
Note: Some people like to put a piece of cheesecloth in the bottom of the steamer, I don’t do that, as very few semolina will go through the holes of the steamer. Also, I stem the couscous with plain water, make sure the water does not touch the couscous when steaming.