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Apr 10, 2011 06:23 PM

Couscous question

Is there any trick to preparing couscous? I made it according to the package directions, that is, mixed with boiling water and let sit until the liquid is absorbed. It turned out very lumpy when I tried to serve it, and the lumps didn't break down even after it was covered with a saucy tagine.

Any suggestions? Should I be adding butter or oil to keep it from sticking together? Or is there another trick out there?


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  1. yes I add olive oil at first, maybe some butter at the end.

    1. As with any pasta, you can oil or butter it, but I usually find it's fine if I simply stir it for a few moments after the liquid goes in. Don't know if your couscous was flavored at all- I usually make mine with broth of some kind to give it a taste boost. After that, it's mighty good even with just butter. Haven't had trouble with clumping myself, though it could be related to moisture in the couscous or perhaps even in the air. You might try stirring it again after a couple minutes and see if that helps. Either way, you'll want to fluff it with a fork when it's done for the best texture.

      1. I first saute some onions, garlic, and mushrooms in some butter or olive oil, then toast the couscous before slowly adding in beef or chicken stock. i basically treat the couscous almost like a risotto.

        1. Make sure that you fluff it gingerly with a fork before turning it out of the pot. If you stir it with a spoon or simply scoop it out of the pot you will end up with lumps. I kick myself for that every time I try to save 10 seconds by not fluffing it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rockycat

            Yup, gentle fork fluffing will take care of the lumps, no spooning, and I always add a tsp or so of olive oil or butter to the boiling whatever liquid you choose; the fat choice depends on what I'm serving the couscous with. I'm surprised the OP's package directions didn't mention that step.

          2. Roll the lumps gently in your hands, it's fun and effective.

            1 Reply
            1. re: harryharry

              "Roll the lumps gently in your hands, it's fun and effective."

              Well, as long as it's not screamingly hot. 8-)

              You can certainly eat formed balls of couscous with your hands, I believe that's how it's done in the Middle East.