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Sep 10, 2009 07:19 AM

Cous cous: grain or pasta

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.

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

    1. 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

        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

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

          1. re: BustedFlush

            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 the spinach or tomato etc couscous.

            1. re: im_nomad

              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

                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

            I have heard that there is another variety of couscous.

            1. re: Zeldog

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

          3. It's a pasta made from a grain.

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

            1. The box we have at work lists the ingredient as: morrocan pasta. I've heard tale that hand-rolled is the best.

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