Couscous improves dramatically when prepared a little differently from the package directions. Instead of dumping it into a pot of boiling water, the water is poured over gently toasted, spiced couscous and tightly covered. The liquid is evenly absorbed and each grain plumps up firm sans sogginess. A glass dish that comes with a tight fitting snap-on lid is ideal.

Couscous is essential for Moroccan dishes and fine for African meals that require a fast side starch.

If preparing with water, use 1 teaspoon salt; if using veggie broth decrease level of salt to 1⁄2 teaspoon or less depending on the broth.

  • 1 tablespoon non hydrogenated vegan margarine
  • 1 cup couscous or whole wheat couscous
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup boiling water or vegetable broth

1. In a small skillet or saucepan melt the margarine. Add the couscous, spices, and salt. Stir and toast until the couscous is golden, about 2 to 4 minutes. Spread into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

2. Bring the water or broth to a boil and pour over the couscous. Stir and immediately cover the pan as tightly as possible. Set aside for 15 to 18 minutes. When all of the liquid has been absorbed and the grains are plump, stir with a fork until the couscous is fluffy. Serve immediately. This simple couscous can be dressed up in the following ways:

Fluffy Spiced Couscous With Fruit

Add to the couscous before adding the water: 1⁄2 cup roughly chopped dates, 1⁄2 cup golden raisins, and/or 1⁄4 cup finely chopped dried apricot.

Fluffy Spiced Couscous With Nuts, Mint, and/or Preserved Lemon

Stir the following into the fully cooked couscous: 2 tablespoons chopped roasted pistachios or hazelnuts or almonds; 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint; and/or 2 teaspoons minced preserved lemon (see Preserved Lemons, Two Ways).