Couscous

Couscous

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Couscous is a Berber
Berber cuisine
The Berber cuisine is considered as a traditional cuisine which evolved little in the course of time.Berber cuisine differs from one area to another within North Africa. Thus, it is not easy to speak about a typically Berber cuisine. A classification is essential, in order to emphasize the...

 dish of semolina
Semolina
Semolina is the coarse, purified wheat middlings of durum wheat used in making pasta, and also used for breakfast cereals and puddings. Semolina is also used to designate coarse middlings from other varieties of wheat, and from other grains such as rice and corn.-Name:The term semolina derives from...

 traditionally served with a meat
Meat
Meat is animal flesh that is used as food. Most often, this means the skeletal muscle and associated fat and other tissues, but it may also describe other edible tissues such as organs and offal...

 or vegetable
Vegetable
The noun vegetable usually means an edible plant or part of a plant other than a sweet fruit or seed. This typically means the leaf, stem, or root of a plant....

 stew
Stew
A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resultant gravy. Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables , meat, especially tougher meats suitable for slow-cooking, such as beef. Poultry, sausages, and seafood are also used...

 spooned over it. Couscous is a staple food
Staple food
A staple food is one that is eaten regularly and in such quantities that it constitutes a dominant portion of a diet, and that supplies a high proportion of energy and nutrient needs. Most people live on a diet based on one or more staples...

 throughout Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 and Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

.

Etymology


The name is derived from North African, Berber
Berber languages
The Berber languages are a family of languages indigenous to North Africa, spoken from Siwa Oasis in Egypt to Morocco , and south to the countries of the Sahara Desert...

 seksu (meaning well rolled, well formed, rounded).

Numerous different names and pronunciations for couscous exist around the world. Couscous is ˈ or ˈ in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and only the latter in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. In Berber, it is known as Seksu or Kesksu and in pronounced Kuskus. It is known as Kesksu or Seksu in Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 and Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

]. Kuseksi in Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

, Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 and Kuskusi in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. Keskesu in Tuareg. In Libya, it is commonly called "Kusksi.

History


One of the first written references is from an anonymous
Anonymous work
Anonymous works are works, such as art or literature, that have an anonymous, undisclosed, or unknown creator or author. In the United States it is legally defined as "a work on the copies or phonorecords of which no natural person is identified as author."...

 13th-century Moroccan/Andalusian cookbook
Cookbook
A cookbook is a kitchen reference that typically contains a collection of recipes. Modern versions may also include colorful illustrations and advice on purchasing quality ingredients or making substitutions...

, Kitāb al-tabǐkh fǐ al-Maghrib wa'l-Andalus (Arabic) "The cookbook of the Maghreb and Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

", with a recipe for couscous that was 'known all over the world'. Couscous was known to the Nasrid
Nasrid dynasty
The Nasrid dynasty was the last Moorish and Muslim dynasty in Spain. The Nasrid dynasty rose to power after the defeat of the Almohad Caliphate in 1212 at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa...

 royalty in Granada as well. And in the 13th century a Syria
Greater Syria
Greater Syria , also known simply as Syria, is a term that denotes a region in the Near East bordering the Eastern Mediterranean Sea or the Levant....

n historian from Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

 includes four references for couscous. These early mentions show that couscous spread rapidly, but generally that couscous was common from Tripolitania
Tripolitania
Tripolitania or Tripolitana is a historic region and former province of Libya.Tripolitania was a separate Italian colony from 1927 to 1934...

 to the west, while from Cyrenaica
Cyrenaica
Cyrenaica is the eastern coastal region of Libya.Also known as Pentapolis in antiquity, it was part of the Creta et Cyrenaica province during the Roman period, later divided in Libia Pentapolis and Libia Sicca...

 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
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 in the 16th century and is eaten in most of the southern province
Province
A province is a territorial unit, almost always an administrative division, within a country or state.-Etymology:The English word "province" is attested since about 1330 and derives from the 13th-century Old French "province," which itself comes from the Latin word "provincia," which referred to...

s.

Couscous is a staple of Sicilian cuisine. In Rome Bartolomeo Scappi
Bartolomeo Scappi
Bartolomeo Scappi was a famous Renaissance chef. His origins had been the subject of speculation, but a recent research shows that he came from the town of Dumenza in Lombardy, according to the inscription on a stone plaque in the church of Luino...

's culinary guide of 1570 describes a Moorish dish, succussu; in Tuscany
Tuscany
Tuscany is a region in Italy. It has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.75 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence ....

.

One of the earliest references to couscous in Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 is in Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

, in a letter dated 12 January 1699. But it made an earlier appearance in Provence
Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

, where the traveler Jean Jacques Bouchard wrote of eating it in Toulon
Toulon
Toulon is a town in southern France and a large military harbor on the Mediterranean coast, with a major French naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region, Toulon is the capital of the Var department in the former province of Provence....

 in 1630.
Couscous was originally made from millet
Millet
The millets are a group of small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains, widely grown around the world for food and fodder. They do not form a taxonomic group, but rather a functional or agronomic one. Their essential similarities are that they are small-seeded grasses grown in difficult...

. Historians have different opinions as to when wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

 began to replace the use of millet. The conversion seems to have occurred sometime in the 20th century, although many regions continue to use the traditional millet. Couscous seems to have a North African origin. Archaeological evidence dating back to the 9th century, consisting of kitchen utensils needed to prepare this dish, has been found in this part of the world.

In some regions couscous is made from coarsely ground barley
Barley
Barley is a major cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods...

 or pearl millet
Pearl millet
Pearl millet is the most widely grown type of millet. Grown in Africa and the Indian subcontinent since prehistoric times, it is generally accepted that pearl millet originated in Africa and was subsequently introduced into India. The center of diversity, and suggested area of domestication, for...

. In Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, the traditional couscous is made from cornmeal
Cornmeal
Cornmeal is flour ground from dried maize or American corn. It is a common staple food, and is ground to fine, medium, and coarse consistencies. In the United States, the finely ground cornmeal is also referred to as cornflour. However, the word cornflour denotes cornstarch in recipes from the...

.

Preparation



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. Any pellets which are too small to be finished granules of couscous and fall through the sieve will be again rolled and sprinkled with dry semolina and rolled into pellets. This process continues until all the semolina has been formed into tiny granules of couscous. 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.[4] 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 is sold in markets around the world.

In the Sahel
Sahel
The Sahel is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition between the Sahara desert in the North and the Sudanian Savannas in the south.It stretches across the North African continent between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea....

ian countries of West Africa, such as Mali
Mali
Mali , officially the Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with...

 and Senegal
Senegal
Senegal , officially the Republic of Senegal , is a country in western Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north...

, pearl millet
Pearl millet
Pearl millet is the most widely grown type of millet. Grown in Africa and the Indian subcontinent since prehistoric times, it is generally accepted that pearl millet originated in Africa and was subsequently introduced into India. The center of diversity, and suggested area of domestication, for...

 is pounded or milled to the size and consistency necessary for the couscous.
Properly cooked couscous is light and fluffy, not gummy or gritty. Traditionally, North Africans use a food steamer
Food steamer
A food steamer or steam cooker is a kitchen appliance used to prepare various foods in a sealed vessel that limits the escape of air or liquids below a preset pressure.-Advantages:...

 (called a كسكس kiskas in Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 or a couscoussière in French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

). 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
Cheesecloth
Cheesecloth is a loosewoven gauze-like cotton cloth used primarily in cheese making and cooking.Cheesecloth is available in at least seven different grades, from open to extra-fine weave. Grades are distinguished by the number of threads per inch in each direction.- Uses :The primary use of...

. There is little archaeological
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 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
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

 supermarkets has been pre-steamed and dried, the package directions usually instruct to add 1.5 measures of boiling water or stock and butter to each measure of 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
Pasta
Pasta is a staple food of traditional Italian cuisine, now of worldwide renown. It takes the form of unleavened dough, made in Italy, mostly of durum wheat , water and sometimes eggs. Pasta comes in a variety of different shapes that serve for both decoration and to act as a carrier for the...

, or dried grains (such as rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

).

Local variations



In Libya, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, couscous is generally served with vegetables (carrot
Carrot
The carrot is a root vegetable, usually orange in colour, though purple, red, white, and yellow varieties exist. It has a crisp texture when fresh...

s, potatoes, turnip
Turnip
The turnip or white turnip is a root vegetable commonly grown in temperate climates worldwide for its white, bulbous taproot. Small, tender varieties are grown for human consumption, while larger varieties are grown as feed for livestock...

s, etc.) cooked in a spicy or mild broth
Broth
Broth is a liquid food preparation, typically consisting of either water or an already flavored stock, in which bones, meat, fish, cereal grains, or vegetables have been simmered. Broth is used as a basis for other edible liquids such as soup, gravy, or sauce. It can be eaten alone or with garnish...

 or stew, and some meat (generally, chicken
Chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

, lamb or mutton).

In Libya, it is mostly served with meat, specifically beef
Beef
Beef is the culinary name for meat from bovines, especially domestic cattle. Beef can be harvested from cows, bulls, heifers or steers. It is one of the principal meats used in the cuisine of the Middle East , Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Europe and the United States, and is also important in...

, lamb, or camel. In Tripoli and the western parts of Libya, 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 Tunisia, it is made mostly spicy with harissa
Harissa
Harissa is a Tunisian hot chili sauce commonly eaten in North Africa whose main ingredients are piri piri , serrano peppers and other hot chili peppers and spices such as garlic paste, coriander, red chili powder, caraway as well as some vegetable or olive oil...

 sauce, it is served with almost everything, including lamb, beef, camel, and poultry. Fish couscous is Tunisian specialty, it can be also made with octopus in hot red spicy sauce. Couscous in Tunisia is served on every occasion; it is also served sweetened as dessert called masfouf, mostly during Ramadan
Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and...

.

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 almond
Almond
The almond , is a species of tree native to the Middle East and South Asia. Almond is also the name of the edible and widely cultivated seed of this tree...

s, cinnamon
Cinnamon
Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum that is used in both sweet and savoury foods...

 and sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

. Traditionally, this dessert will be served with milk perfumed with orange flower water
Orange flower water
Orange flower water, or orange blossom water, is a clear, perfumed distillation of fresh bitter-orange blossoms.This essential water has traditionally been used in many French and Mediterranean dessert dishes, such as the gibassier and pompe à l'huile, but has more recently found its way into...

, or it can be served plain with buttermilk
Buttermilk
Buttermilk refers to a number of dairy drinks. Originally, buttermilk was the liquid left behind after churning butter out of cream. It also refers to a range of fermented milk drinks, common in warm climates where unrefrigerated fresh milk otherwise sours quickly...

 in a bowl as a cold light soup for supper.

In Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, couscous is eaten more as a dessert. It is prepared with butter, sugar, cinnamon, raisins, nuts and topped with cream.

Couscous is also very popular in France, where it is now considered a traditional dish, and has also become popular in Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece. Indeed, many polls have indicated that it is often a favorite dish. Although introduced in France by the pieds noirs
Pied-noir
Pied-Noir , plural Pieds-Noirs, pronounced , is a term referring to French citizens of various origins who lived in French Algeria before independence....

(people of European descent who used to live in Algeria), many couscous restaurants are now owned by people originating from Algeria. In France, Spain, Italy, and Portugal, the word "couscous" (cuscús in Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian) 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, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese grocery store
Grocery store
A grocery store is a store that retails food. A grocer, the owner of a grocery store, stocks different kinds of foods from assorted places and cultures, and sells these "groceries" to customers. Large grocery stores that stock products other than food, such as clothing or household items, are...

s and supermarket
Supermarket
A supermarket, a form of grocery store, is a self-service store offering a wide variety of food and household merchandise, organized into departments...

s. In France, it is generally served with harissa
Harissa
Harissa is a Tunisian hot chili sauce commonly eaten in North Africa whose main ingredients are piri piri , serrano peppers and other hot chili peppers and spices such as garlic paste, coriander, red chili powder, caraway as well as some vegetable or olive oil...

 sauce, and in Italy, it can be served with marinara sauce
Marinara Sauce
Marinara sauce is a southern Italian tomato sauce usually made with tomatoes, garlic, herbs , and onion. However, there are many variations. Some of these include the addition of capers, olives, anchovies, and/or spices....

.

In North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, 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
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

 or health-food
Health food
The term health food is generally used to describe foods that are considered to be beneficial to health, beyond a normal healthy diet required for human nutrition. However, the term is not precisely defined by national regulatory agencies such as the U.S...

 section of larger grocery stores.

There are recipe
Recipe
A recipe is a set of instructions that describe how to prepare or make something, especially a culinary dish.-Components:Modern culinary recipes normally consist of several components*The name of the dish...

s from Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 and other Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

n countries that use boiled couscous molded into a timbale
Timbale (food)
In cooking, timbale can refer to either a kind of pan used for baking, or the food that is cooked inside such a pan.Timbale pans can be large , or they can be small enough to be single-portion . Timbales typically narrow toward the bottom....

 with other ingredients. In Northeastern Brazil
Northeast Region, Brazil
The Northeast Region of Brazil is composed of the following states: Maranhão, Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe and Bahia, and it represents 18.26% of the Brazilian territory....

 and among the diaspora of its population in other Brazilian regions, cuzcuz (kusˈkus locally, kuʃˈkujʃ in Rio de Janeiro, kujsˈkujs in São Paulo), a steamed cake of couscous and corn flour (a mixture called fubá, pronounced fuˈba, said to be of African origin from the slave trade), is a popular meal, served in many forms: With sugar and milk, with varied meats, with cheese and eggs, and so on. In Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, there are two dishes called the couscous taco
Taco
A taco is a traditional Mexican dish composed of a corn or wheat tortilla folded or rolled around a filling. A taco can be made with a variety of fillings, including beef, chicken, seafood, vegetables and cheese, allowing for great versatility and variety...

(taco de cuscús) and couscous burrito
Burrito
A burrito , or taco de harina, is a type of Mexican food. It consists of a wheat flour tortilla wrapped or folded around a filling. The flour tortilla is usually lightly grilled or steamed, to soften it and make it more pliable. In Mexico, refried beans or meat are sometimes the only fillings...

(burrito de cuscús), which consists of the addition of couscous to a traditional taco or burrito respectively, similar in fashion to a Moroccan pita.

Nutrition


Couscous is among the healthiest grain-based products. It has a glycemic load
Glycemic load
The glycemic load is a ranking system for carbohydrate content in food portions based on their glycemic index and a standardized portion size of 100g. Glycemic load or GL combines both the quality and quantity of carbohydrate in one number. It is the best way to predict blood glucose values of...

 per gram 25% below that of pasta
Pasta
Pasta is a staple food of traditional Italian cuisine, now of worldwide renown. It takes the form of unleavened dough, made in Italy, mostly of durum wheat , water and sometimes eggs. Pasta comes in a variety of different shapes that serve for both decoration and to act as a carrier for the...

. It has a superior vitamin profile to pasta, containing twice as much riboflavin
Riboflavin
Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2 or additive E101, is an easily absorbed micronutrient with a key role in maintaining health in humans and animals. It is the central component of the cofactors FAD and FMN, and is therefore required by all flavoproteins. As such, vitamin B2 is required for a...

, niacin
Niacin
"Niacin" redirects here. For the neo-fusion band, see Niacin .Niacin is an organic compound with the formula and, depending on the definition used, one of the forty to eighty essential human nutrients.Niacin is one of five vitamins associated with a pandemic deficiency disease: niacin deficiency...

, vitamin B6
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin and is part of the vitamin B complex group. Several forms of the vitamin are known, but pyridoxal phosphate is the active form and is a cofactor in many reactions of amino acid metabolism, including transamination, deamination, and decarboxylation...

, and folate, and containing four times as much thiamine
Thiamine
Thiamine or thiamin or vitamin B1 , named as the "thio-vitamine" is a water-soluble vitamin of the B complex. First named aneurin for the detrimental neurological effects if not present in the diet, it was eventually assigned the generic descriptor name vitamin B1. Its phosphate derivatives are...

 and pantothenic acid
Pantothenic acid
Pantothenic acid, also called pantothenate or vitamin B5 , is a water-soluble vitamin. For many animals, pantothenic acid is an essential nutrient. Animals require pantothenic acid to synthesize coenzyme-A , as well as to synthesize and metabolize proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.Pantothenic acid...

.

In terms of protein, couscous has 3.6 g for every 100 calories, equivalent to pasta, and well above the 2.6 g for every 100 calories of white rice
White rice
White rice is the name given to milled rice that has had its husk, bran, and germ removed. This alters the flavour, texture and appearance of the rice and helps prevent spoilage and extend its storage life. After milling, the rice is polished, resulting in a seed with a bright, white, shiny...

. Furthermore, couscous contains a 1% fat-to-calorie ratio, compared to 3% for white rice, 5% for pasta, and 11.3% for rice pilaf.

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  • Attiéké, a variety of couscous that is a staple food in Côte d'Ivoire
    Côte d'Ivoire
    The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast is a country in West Africa. It has an area of , and borders the countries Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. The country's population was 15,366,672 in 1998 and was estimated to be...

     and is also known to surrounding areas of West Africa, made from grated cassava
    Cassava
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    .
  • Wassa wassa, is another variety of couscous made in northern Togo
    Togo
    Togo, officially the Togolese Republic , is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately with a population of approximately...

     made from yams
    Yam (vegetable)
    Yam is the common name for some species in the genus Dioscorea . These are perennial herbaceous vines cultivated for the consumption of their starchy tubers in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania...

    .
  • Berkoukesh are pasta bullets made by the same process, but are larger than the grains of couscous.
  • Fregula
    Fregula
    Fregula is a type of pasta from Sardinia. It is similar to Israeli couscous. Fregula comes in varying sizes, but typically consists of semolina dough that has been rolled into balls 2-3 mm in diameter and toasted in an oven....

    , a pasta from Sardinia
    Sardinia
    Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],...

    , consists of pellets that are larger than couscous and toasted.
  • Kouskousaki (Κουσκουσάκι in Greek
    Greek language
    Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

     or Kuskus in Turkish
    Turkish language
    Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

    ), a pasta from Greece
    Greece
    Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

     and Turkey
    Turkey
    Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

    , that is boiled and served with cheese and walnuts.
  • In Brazilian cuisine, the "cuscuz marroquino" is a version, usually eaten cold, of the "couscous". Brazilian cuscuz is usually made out of corn meal, rather than semolina wheat. Another festive moulded couscous dish, containing chicken, vegetables, spices, steamed in a mould and decorated with orange slices is called "Cuscuz de Galinha".
  • In Lebanese cuisine
    Lebanese cuisine
    Lebanese cuisine includes an abundance of starches, fruits, vegetables, fresh fish and seafood; animal fats are consumed sparingly. Poultry is eaten more often than red meat, and when red meat is eaten it is usually lamb on the coast and goat meat in the mountain regions...

     and Palestinian cuisine
    Palestinian cuisine
    Palestinian cuisine consists of foods from or commonly eaten by Palestinians — which includes those living in the Palestinian territories, Israel, refugee camps in nearby countries as well as by the Palestinian Diaspora...

    , a similar but larger product is known as maftoul.
  • "Israeli couscous" (in Hebrew
    Hebrew language
    Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

     פתיתים 'flakes' ), also called "ptitim
    Ptitim
    Ptitim is an Israeli toasted pasta shaped like rice or little balls. Outside of Israel it is known as Israeli couscous or Jerusalem couscous. -History:...

    "
    , is a larger, baked wheat product similar to the Italian orzo.

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