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Couscous is a very old meal, especially in North African countries such as Morocco, Algeria, and eastern Libya, but do you know what is couscous made from?
Throughout this article, we will discuss everything related to couscous and its ingredients, as well as the stages of making and preparing couscous.

Do You Know What Is Couscous Made Of

What Exactly Is Couscous?:

couscous made from wheat or cornflour in the form of small grains and is steamed and added to meat, vegetables, milk, butter, and fine sugar as desired and appropriate.

In all countries of the Maghreb, couscous is prepared with halal meat or chicken and gravy. As for milk, it is served without broth or vegetables, the only couscous with yogurt. 

What exactly is couscous

It is one of the main dishes known since ancient times and that is not absent from the table for a long time, and there are those who cook it daily, and it is a common dish in most parts of Africa. From the north (Morocco - Algeria - Mauritania - Tunisia - Libya) and from Sicily in Italy and even in France.

In 2019, the countries of the Maghreb (Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, and Tunisia) submitted a request to the United Nations Organization for Culture and Science (UNESCO) to include the popular dish of couscous on the list as an intangible cultural heritage.

What Is Couscous Made From?:

The history of couscous

Couscous was found among the indigenous peoples of North Africa before it was divided into states, as well as in Egypt, Mauritania, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. As it spread over time into the world thanks to barbarian travelers.
Author Al-Hasan Al-Wazzan (1494-1554) said: “Berbers were famous for their brown hair, shaved heads, and ate couscous.”

Cooking utensils similar to those used to prepare couscous have been found in tombs dating back to the time of King Massinissa (238 BC-148 BC), and are considered the oldest physical evidence found to date. King Masinisa is a united kingdom of Numidia and its capital is Cirta. (Constantine today). It included northern Algeria and areas extending from Tunisia and Libya to the Moulouya River in Morocco.

Many travelers and historians mention couscous in their work, including the French historian Charles André Julien (1891-1991) in his book The History of North Africa. He stated: “The Berbers were at all times famous for their toughness and longevity ... Peasants had been eating couscous since that (Roman) era and breeders rarely slaughtered their animals, but they were satisfied with it.
It was mentioned by many travelers, including Charles André Julian, in his book "The History of North Africa".

Couscous has been an everyday staple in many parts of North Africa, but its status has declined in recent decades as its taste has shifted towards diversifying food. Couscous is made from durum wheat, barley, sorghum, or oak semolina.

Is It Couscous Healthy?:

Couscous has three main types depending on the type of flour it is made from. There are a few types of couscous like:

  • Hard Wheat Couscous.
  • Barley Couscous.
  • Oak Couscous. 

 All of these types are very healthy because they do not contain any chemicals, but only wheat, barley, or oak, depending on the type of couscous, as these types are prepared in almost the same way, as couscous goes through three important stages that housewives follow when they want to prepare couscous, Either to be taken directly or for long-term storage.

How Is Couscous Made by Hand?:

1.Rotate the Couscous:    

After grinding wheat, barley, corn, or oak as desired, hands are washed and some flour is placed in a wooden bowl according to the number of family members and rubbed with the palm of the right hand, while the left-hand pours a little water from time to time and this process is called rolling couscous.

Rotate the couscous

 After a while, the semolina turns into small granules, and with light movements of the hands the granules separate and do not stick, and we continue the process until the whole quantity turns into granules and then passes through a sieve to manufacture couscous (a sieve with a wide hole, then a medium-hole sieve) to separate the couscous according to the size Couscous is about medium-thin, then coarse, or the so-called Berkox.

 2.Steam Cooking Couscous:

The couscous is placed in a bowl with small holes at the bottom to allow the steam from the bottom pot of boiling water to rise to the semolina that has been previously coiled. The two vessels together are called (Burma and Cascaas) in the countries of the Maghreb.

Steam cooking couscous

Before putting it in couscous for steaming, brush it with a little good olive oil, and if we do not have it, we add table oil and a teaspoon of salt to it, or according to taste, and cook it with steam rising from boiling. Water by passing it over the couscous granules for 15 minutes, making sure to stir it from time to time. This process is repeated twice before it is ready to dry.

3.Drying and Storage:   

Some residents of Libya and the Maghreb regions prepare food for a year and store it in their homes. and the drying process is usually done in the summer due to the presence of sufficient sunlight. 
and to protect the food from rotting. In the summer, housewives resort to using salt in rotting water to prevent decay.

Drying and storage couscous

Then cooked couscous is poured on mattresses that are in a somewhat sunny place, spread by hand, and stir every day until all the water evaporates from it and becomes completely dry.

then passes the sieve again in order to filter it and remove its particles to be approximately the same size.
then it is divided and placed in bags for storage in the Home dining cupboard away from moisture.

Hello! Welcome to The "Dish Flavor", the first resource for the finest recipes and lifestyle. I'm Mohammad. I was born and raised in Algeria bordering the Mediterranean, and as the cradle of African, and Mediterranean cooking, I was very excited to share easy, amazing recipes with wonderful flavors. Welcome to my blog!