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Q&A: All about couscous

The small-grain Moroccan couscous cooks up quickly. Choosing a whole-wheat version provides nearly three times as much fiber.

Associated Press

The small-grain Moroccan couscous cooks up quickly. Choosing a whole-wheat version provides nearly three times as much fiber.

All about couscous

Just what is couscous? A grain?

Toby Amidor of Healthy Eats on foodnetwork.com addresses this:

"Couscous isn't technically a grain, but it is made from them. Some say couscous (pronounced "koose-koose") is pasta because it's made from a mix of semolina wheat and water; others argue that couscous predates pasta, so it's its own thing. Either way, couscous is in a wide spectrum of cuisines, including North African, Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian.

"Back in the day, making it was very labor-intensive because the finely ground wheat and flour were mixed by hand and pressed through a sieve. These days, machines do all the work. The couscous you find at your market has been steamed twice and dried. This way you only need to cook it briefly in boiling water, stock or broth.

"There are various types of couscous; the most popular ones are Moroccan, Israeli and Lebanese. The smallest, Moroccan, is about three times the size of cornmeal and cooks up in about five minutes. Israeli couscous (a.k.a. pearl couscous) is larger than traditional couscous, with a rounder shape (more like a peppercorn), and takes longer to cook. The largest of the three, Lebanese is about the size of a small pea and takes the longest to cook (similar to risotto).

"One cup of cooked couscous contains 176 calories, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein with no sugar or fat. It also contains two-thirds of your daily recommended selenium. Looking for more fiber? Choose whole-wheat couscous; it has about 5 to 6 grams of fiber per serving and is available in many markets.

"Couscous has a mild taste and picks up the flavors you cook it with. Go sweet and savory by mixing in cranberries, raisins, apples or pomegranate seeds. Or cook some in a broth or stock for a savory boost and mix in carrots and peas. Add pine nuts or mushrooms for a delicious difference."

Look for 'Chuck' next month

Will Chuck with Zachary Levi ever return to NBC? It was the only show we looked forward to watching during the week.

NBC announced late last month that Season 3 of Chuck would premiere on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2010, with a two-hour premiere at 9 p.m. before moving to its permanent slot on Mondays at 8.

Chuck Bartowski is an average computer store employee who one days opens an e-mail that downloads government data into his brain. The government has to protect him to keep its secrets, and Chuck is turned into a secret agent battling international terrorists and assassins.

'Warehouse 13' returning

I really enjoyed Warehouse 13 last summer on the SyFy channel. Are they going to bring it back?

Yes, the fantasy series has been picked up for a second season to air in 2010.

Q&A: All about couscous 12/07/09 [Last modified: Monday, December 7, 2009 4:44pm]

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