London foodies – you have tried couscous but do you really know what it is? Zayane does and we will share it in this post! Couscous has a fascinating history, it’s extremely healthy, it can be enjoyed in many ways and it’s suitable for vegetarians! If you haven’t tried it yet, we hope you will after reading our blog.
Couscous is made of steamed semolina and is traditionally served with meat or vegetables spooned over it. Even its name is exciting. It derives from the berber word “seksu” which means “well formed”. The pronunciation of the word changes among different countries and languages. “kuskusi” (Arabic), “seksu or kesku” (Moroccan) “taam” (Algerian) and “koski or kuseksi” (Libya) are just some of the existing versions.
Even though couscous’s exact origins are uncertain the Berbers cooked the dish back in 238 BC, probably because it was easy to prepare in the desert by nomadic and agricultural tribes. It was during the 13th century when the first mention of couscous was written on an African cookbook Kitāb al-tabǐkh fǐ al-Maghrib wa’l-Andalus “The cookbook of the Maghreb and Andalusia”.
Couscous is a great source of protein, fibre, and minerals. One cup of couscous provides you with a great source of protein, 2 grams of dietary fibre and around 61% of your daily selenium intake. Couscous is an unprocessed whole grain food, which means that all essentials vitamins such as thiamin, niacin and vitamin B are kept in the grain and are not lost during processing. It also contains lots of trace minerals such as selenium and magnesium, which boost metabolism of thyroid hormones.
Types of couscous
There are three different types of couscous, Moroccan, Israeli and Lebanese. The difference between them is in the size of the grains. Moroccan couscous is the smallest one and therefore cooks very fast. The Israeli is medium in terms of size and is usually steamed with a traditional cooking method. Finally, the Lebanese one is the largest of the three types, and each grain is about the size of a pea.
How to enjoy couscous
Couscous is not usually enjoyed on its own. A great way to add couscous in your diet is by incorporating it in your salads. It also goes great with stuffed vegetables and as a side dish with stews and grilled meats.
At Zayane, we believe that couscous is a vital part of Moroccan cuisine and we make sure to cook it traditionally, to maintain its flavours and taste. Our whole wheat couscous, tomato, mozzarella, parsley, basil and balsamic dressing super salad makes a great choice for a light lunch or dinner. It is perfect during the spring weather and will definitely keep you full and energised for the day. It is nutritious, healthy and low in calories.