Preparation info

  • Serves

    4 to 6

    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Mediterranean Kitchen

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 1998

  • About

Couscous is a hard-wheat semolina grain that is the perfect accompaniment for North African and many Middle Eastern dishes. There has been much discussion about how inferior instant (pre-cuit) couscous is to the long-cooking kind. But the fact of the matter is most markets only carry the instant. So let me show you how to make the best of a good thing. Ignore the instructions on the box and proceed as follows.


  • 2 cups medium-grain couscous (we use Ferrero)
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)


    Pour the couscous grains into a shallow baking pan or ceramic dish about 9 inches square and 2 inches high. Heat the water, butter, salt, and cinnamon to boiling. Pour over the couscous and stir once to mix. Cover the dish with foil or a lid and let stand about 10 minutes. Break up the couscous with a fork or fluff it with your fingers. You can serve it immediately, or keep it in an oven warmed by just the pilot light for several hours and heat it later over hot water in a double boiler. Fluff it again just before serving.

    If you have a couscousière, a special double boiler with a perforated top half, place the accompanying ragout in the bottom half, and warm the couscous in the top half by the steam generated from the simmering ragout.