Zen Cuisine tips: cous cous

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Cous cous is one of the easiest and quickest things to make and yet it is aso one of the things that many people can't get right.  When you make it yourself it tastes so much better than the pre flavoured packs you can buy that tend to be less than authentic in taste.

Here are some tips:

First decide what you want to use cous cous for.  Is it a salad in it's own right or a backdrop for something else like a tagine for instance?

If it is for a tagine you want the flavour to be pleasant but not too distinct  in a similar way as  rice accompanyies a curry.

So a basic original cous cous would be to soften a little finely chopped onion in oil and add a clove of garlic.  You need oil to keep the cous cous fluffy.  i use coconut oil.  Then add the amount of hot water recommended on the cous cous pack to the onion and garlic and stir in some neutral stock.  Add the cous cous and let it soak into the stock.  When the stock is absorbed check that it is moistened and fluffy when stirred.  You may need to add a little more stock.  Add seasoning to tasste and that's it.  So simple.

For a cous cous that is an item in it's own right you can go to towh a little more.  the secret is to add all the flavouring and ingredients to the water before you add the cous cous.

So you could add  a hot chopped chilli with finely chooped tomato or sun dried tomato  or substitute the chilli for fresh basil leaves if possible or dried basil.

You could add corriander leaves chopped and with a squeeze of lemon and some lemon rind grated in.  Some much more tasty than a dried packet that you add water to.  And when you get a bit of the lemon peel in your mouth your taste buds are truly tantalised.  You can always used dried herbs but fresh taste diffferent (better).

You could also add a selection of finely chopped vegetables or salad items.  Even with these whether pre cooked or raw the ingredients should be added to the water/stock before adding the cous cous.

I think the reaons for this is that when you are soaking the cous cous it is absorbing the flavours of the water whereas if you add things later the taste sits on top of the cous cous rather than integrating into it.

Think of your favourite flavours and use those to flavour your cous cous or for ideas check out some of the fried packets but make your own version. it will taste so much better  and made in minutes.  Also a fraction of the cost.

We would love to know what flavours you try ...... let us know.


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