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COUSCOUS ELEGANCE MADE EASY
MODERN AMERICAN USES FOR A TRADITIONAL AFRICAN GRAIN
Once when I was shopping at my favorite natural-food store, an exotic-looking gentleman slipped past me and snapped two boxes of couscous from the shelf. "Have your ever tried this?" he asked. "It's really quite delicious."
I confessed that although I'd heard about couscous from friends who had been to northern Africa, I'd never tried it because I thought it might be difficult to prepare.
"Don't you need some special equipment?" I asked him.
"Not any more," he laughed. "When my mother made it by hand, it took all day and had to be cooked in a special steamer. But now all the hard work is done for you. If you can boil water, you can make couscous."
Since I'm no slouch in the water-boiling department, I took home a package of couscous. Its rich flavor instantly made me a devoted fan. Now, whenever I buy some, I turn to the nearest shopper and ask, "Have you ever tried couscous? It's really quite delicious."
Couscous (pronounced coos-coos), which comes in tiny, round pellets that resemble grains of millet, has a mild flavor and is perfect with highly seasoned foods. Yet its delicate taste also makes it a suitable complement for lightly seasoned dishes.
There are two types of couscous, one made from semolina flour and the other from whole-wheat flour. Semolina couscous is pale yellow and has a delicate pasta flavor, while the whole-wheat type is beige or tan and has a nutty, whole-grain flavor. And because both versions are made from grain products, they're fat-free. …