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Nutritional Information

1 cup of, couscous

  • Calories 176
  • Calories from Fat 2.25
  • Amount%DV
  • Total Fat 0.25g0%
  • Saturated Fat 0.046g0%
  • Monounsaturated Fat 0.035g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g
  • Cholestreol 0mg0%
  • Sodium 8mg0%
  • Potassium 91mg3%
  • Total Carbohydrate 36.46g12%
  • Dietary Fiber 2.2g9%
  • Sugars 0.16g
  • Protein 5.95g12%
  • Calcium 1mg0%
  • Iron 3mg17%
  • Vitamin A 0%
  • Vitamin C 0%

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Couscous on Wikipedia:

For the possum species, see Cuscus. For the ancient Chilean village, see Cuz Cuz. Couscous with vegetables and chickpeas Nutrition Facts Serving Size 1 cup (173 g) Servings Per Container Information is per dry couscous as determined by Nutrient Data Laboratory, ARS, USDA.[1] Amount Per Serving Calories 650 Calories from Fat 9 % Daily Value* Total Fat 1 g 2%    Saturated Fat 0 g 0%    Trans Fat 0 g Cholesterol 0 mg 0% Sodium 17 mg 1% Potassium 287 mg 8% Total Carbohydrate 134 g 45%    Dietary Fiber 9 g 4%    Sugars 0 g Protein 22 g Vitamin A 0%      Vitamin C 0% Calcium 42%      Iron 2% *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Couscous (pronounced /ˈkʊskʊs/ or /ˈkuːskuːs/) is a food consisting of spherical granules made by rolling and shaping moistened semolina wheat and then coating them with finely ground wheat flour. The finished granules are about one millimetre in diameter before cooking. Other variations exist and other cereals may be used, for instance, the Levantine variant, popular also in Israel, is slightly more than twice the diameter and made of hard wheat instead of semolina.[2] Traditional couscous requires considerable preparation time and is usually steamed. In many places, a more-processed, quick-cook couscous is available and is particularly valued for its short preparation time. Couscous is traditionally served under a meat or vegetable stew. It can also be eaten alone, flavored, or plain, warm or cold (e.g., mixed with tabouli), or as a side dish.

The dish is a traditional staple throughout the Maghreb.[3] It is also popular in the West African Sahel, in France, Spain, Madeira, in western Sicily's Province of Trapani, as well as in Greece, Cyprus and parts of the Middle East. It is particularly popular among Jews of North African descent such as the Moroccan Jews , Tunisian Jews and Algerian Jews,[4] and is eaten in many other parts of the world as well.



The couscous granules are made from semolina (coarsely ground durum wheat) or, in some regions, from coarsely ground barley or pearl millet. In Brazil, the traditional couscous is made from pre-cooked sweet-corn flakes.[5]

Couscous from semolina (wheat)

The semolina is sprinkled with water and rolled with the hands to form small pellets, sprinkled with dry flour to keep them separate, and then sieved. The pellets which are too small to be finished granules of couscous fall through the sieve to be again sprinkled with dry semolina and rolled into pellets. This process continues until all the semolina has been formed into tiny granules of couscous. Sometimes salt is added to the semolina and water.

This process is very labour-intensive. In the traditional method of preparing couscous, groups of women would come together and make large batches over several days.[6] These would then be dried in the sun and used for several months. Couscous was traditionally made from the hard part of the durum, the part of the grain that resisted the grinding of the relatively primitive millstone. In modern times, couscous production is largely mechanized, and the product sold in markets around the world.

Couscous from pearl millet

In the Sahel, pearl millet is pounded or milled to the size and consistency necessary for the couscous.[clarification needed][citation needed]


Proper name

The name is derived from Maghrebi Arabic kuskus or ksaksu, which is from Tamazight seksu[7] (meaning well rolled, well formed, rounded).[8]

Numerous different names and pronunciations for couscous exist around the world. Couscous is pronounced /ˈkʊskʊs/ or /ˈkuːskuːs/ in the United Kingdom and only the latter in the United States. In Berber it is known as Seksu and in Arabic: كسكس‎. It is known as kuskus in Morocco, Algeria, Turkey, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. In Israel couscous is known as Hebrew: קוסקוס‎. The variant, keskesu is mainly used by the Tuareg.[9] In Libya it is commonly called ``kusksi,`` though ``kisksu`` is also used. In Malta, something called kusksu is similar but much larger in size. At Trapani in Sicily cuscusu is served with fish, like trout or anchovies. In much of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya it is also known as ṭa`aam طعام, ``food``.[citation needed]


One of the first written references is from an anonymous 13th-century Hispano-Muslim cookery book, Kitāb al-tabǐkh fǐ al-Maghrib wa'l-Andalus (Arabic) ``The book of cooking in the Maghreb and Al-Andalus``, with a recipe for couscous that was 'known all over the world'. Couscous was known to the Nasrid royalty in Granada as well. And in the 13th century a Syrian historian from Aleppo includes four references for couscous. These early mentions show that couscous spread rapidly, but generally that couscous was common from Tripolitania to the west, while from Cyrenaica to the east the main cuisine was Egyptian, with couscous as an occasional dish. Today, in Egypt and the Middle East, couscous is known, but in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Western Libya couscous is a staple. Couscous was taken from Syria to Turkey in 16th century and is eaten in most of southern provinces.

Couscous is a staple of Sicilian cuisine, perhaps as ancient as the dominant Berber culture of Sicily in the early Middle Ages. In Rome Bartolomeo Scappi's culinary guide of 1570 describes a Moorish dish, succussu; in Tuscany it is thought of as Jewish food because it was introduced by the Sephardic Jews who arrived in Livorno in the 16th century; from his acquaintances among Tuscan Jews, Pellegrino Artusi included ``Jewish`` couscous in his La Scienza in cucina (Milan, 1897).[10]

One of the earliest references to couscous in Northern Europe is in Brittany, in a letter dated 12 January 1699. But it made an earlier appearance in Provence, where the traveler Jean Jacques Bouchard wrote of eating it in Toulon in 1630.


A couscoussière, a traditional steamer for couscous.

Properly cooked couscous should be light and fluffy, not gummy or gritty; steam the couscous two to three times to achieve this consistency.[citation needed] Traditionally, North Africans use a food steamer (called a kiskas in Arabic or a couscoussière in French). The base is a tall metal pot shaped rather like an oil jar in which the meat and vegetables are cooked as a stew. On top of the base, a steamer sits where the couscous is cooked, absorbing the flavours from the stew. The lid to the steamer has holes around its edge so steam can escape. It is also possible to use a pot with a steamer insert. If the holes are too big the steamer can be lined with damp cheesecloth. There is little archaeological evidence of early diets including couscous, possibly because the original couscoussière was probably made from organic materials which could not survive extended exposure to the elements.

Instant couscous

The couscous that is sold in most Western supermarkets have been pre-steamed and dried, the package directions usually instruct to add a small amount of boiling water or stock to the couscous and to cover tightly for 5 minutes. The couscous swells and within a few minutes it is ready to fluff with a fork and serve. Pre-steamed couscous takes less time to prepare than regular couscous, most dried pasta, or dried grains (such as rice).

Recipes and combinations

Couscous with vegetables A Moroccan couscous with vegetables and sweet toppings

In Libya, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, couscous is generally served with vegetables (carrots, Potatoes, turnips, et al.) cooked in a spicy or mild broth or stew, and some meat (generally, chicken, lamb or mutton); in Algeria, couscous can also be topped with fish in a sweet sauce with raisins and caramelized onions.

In Libya, it is mostly served with meat, specifically beef, lamb, or camel. In Tripoli and the western parts of Libya, fish can be added to couscous, but not during official ceremonies or weddings. Another way to eat couscous is as a dessert; it is prepared with dates, sesame, and pure honey, and locally referred to as ``maghrood``.

In Morocco and Algeria it is also served, sometimes at the end of a meal or just by itself, as a delicacy called ``seffa``. The couscous is usually steamed several times until it is very fluffy and pale in color. It is then sprinkled with almonds, cinnamon and sugar. Traditionally, this dessert will be served with milk perfumed with orange flower water, or it can be served plain with buttermilk in a bowl as a cold light soup for supper.

In Egypt, couscous is eaten more as a dessert. It is prepared with butter, sugar, coconut, raisins, nuts and topped with milk or cream.

Couscous is also very popular in France and Spain[citation needed], where it is now considered a traditional dish in both countries. Indeed many polls have indicated that it is often a favorite dish.[11] Although introduced in France by the pieds noirs (people of European descent who used to live in Algeria), many couscous restaurants are now owned by people originating from Algeria. In France and Spain, the word ``couscous`` (cuscús in Spanish) usually refers to couscous together with the stew. Packaged sets containing a box of quick-preparation couscous and a can of vegetables and, generally, meat are sold in French and Spanish grocery stores and supermarkets. In France it is generally served with harissa sauce.

In North America, Australia, and the United Kingdom, couscous is available most commonly as either plain or pre-flavoured, quick preparation boxes. In the United States, it is widely available, but largely confined to the ethnic or health-food section of larger grocery stores.

There are recipes from Brazil and other Latin American countries that use boiled couscous molded into a timbale with other ingredients. In Mexico, there is a dish called the couscous taco (taco de cuscús), which consists of the addition of couscous to a traditional taco, similar in fashion to a Moroccan pita.

Similar products

The name couscous is also used for prepared dishes made from other grains, such as barley, pearl millet, sorghum, rice or maize. Attiéké, a variety of couscous that is a staple food in