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Cous cous: grain or pasta

b
Bossmare Sep 10, 2009 07:19 AM

My husband and I disagree. He insists it is a wheat grain. I say it is a form of pasta. Thanks for your input on this.

  1. mrbigshotno.1 Sep 10, 2009 07:23 AM

    Cous cous is a pasta that's made from crushed grain, you both win!

    1. h
      Hollyhock Sep 10, 2009 08:04 AM

      Couscous is granular semolina, and semolina is durham wheat that is more coarsely ground than other flours. Most good pastas are made from semolina.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Hollyhock
        Zeldog Sep 10, 2009 07:08 PM

        Well, not quite. Semolina is not just coarsely ground wheat. It's the endosperm (starchy part) separated from the bran and germ after coarse grinding. Grind semolina further and you have semolina flour, which is what most commercial pasta is made of.

        Cous cous is semolina (not semolina flour) coated with regular flour, so you might call it a grain/pasta concoction, but calling it pasta is a stretch. It definitely is not a grain in and of itself (there's no such thing as a cous cous plant), but it's not cooked or served like a pasta (cous cous marinara, anyone?). I suggest both sides declare victory and celebrate with a nice cous cous salad.

        1. re: Zeldog
          b
          BustedFlush Sep 10, 2009 08:06 PM

          What about the Israeli variety? Saw some used on an episode of "Chopped" recently. Looked pea sized.

          1. re: BustedFlush
            im_nomad Sep 11, 2009 01:26 PM

            I was just about to chime in on the israeli couscous, it becomes more obvious when you see that variety.

            It's also a little more obvious when you see the flavored varieties...like the spinach or tomato etc couscous.

            1. re: im_nomad
              b
              BustedFlush Sep 11, 2009 08:38 PM

              Sorry, I'm confused - what is more obvious with Israeli couscous? It seems more like pearl pasta to me - am I wrong?

              1. re: BustedFlush
                im_nomad Sep 12, 2009 03:58 AM

                sorry, i hadn't read zeldog's still compressed reply when I answered yours. I was agreeing with you that it's more obvious that it's pasta-ish when it's bigger, or flavored.

          2. re: Zeldog
            b
            Bossmare Sep 11, 2009 04:15 AM

            I have heard that there is another variety of couscous.

            1. re: Zeldog
              b
              Bossmare Sep 11, 2009 04:20 AM

              thanks for all that information. I'll share this with my husband. He's going to feel somewhat vindicated.

          3. SeaSide Tomato Sep 10, 2009 09:33 AM

            It's a pasta made from a grain.

            Incidentally, if you want a whole grain that is like couscous, try millet.

            1. babette feasts Sep 12, 2009 12:28 AM

              The box we have at work lists the ingredient as: morrocan pasta. I've heard tale that hand-rolled is the best. http://www.starchefs.com/events/studi...

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