Friday, 28 May 2010

Political couscous disappointment

I love couscous. I get a bit annoyed when people say it is tasteless. It's like saying pasta or potatoes are tasteless - you need to add some other nice stuff to it otherwise it is going to be bland. But despite being a long-term couscous consumer, I only came across giant or Israeli (the name seems to vary depending on political affiliations) couscous quite recently. I was rather impressed with a Tesco grilled vegetable salad that contained a mixture of regular couscous, giant couscous and chickpeas. And so I resolved to try and make my own giant couscous salad.

I used this Merchant Gourmet brand giant couscous, and was surprised to learn that you actually have to boil it like pasta rather than just pour hot water on it like the regular stuff. Although in retrospect it seems quite obvious that the larger grains would require more cooking. But once cooked I proceeded as I would normally, by dousing in olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper. I also added some finely chopped red onion, tomato, and grilled courgette.
And the outcome? Unfortunately I didn't really like it. Perhaps I over-cooked it or maybe there are other better brands I should try, but the giant couscous grains were oddly slimy, and didn't absorb flavour in the way that I'm used to with the regular variety. My salad was still perfectly edible but not really enjoyable. I think next time I will follow Tesco's example and combine this with other grains. Any other suggestions?

Merchant Gourmet giant couscous
I rate it 6.5/10

Cost: Around £2.00 for a 300g box

7 comments:

Joy said...

There's more to it! I have read a really interesting article about it, but I can't remember where. This is the best thing I could find on the net. (Given that you probably have more in the packet!)
http://backyardpizzeria.blogspot.com/2008/05/mougrabieh-or-giant-couscous.html
Good luck next time!

Joy said...

PS I found the piece I was looking for (I flipped through the book too quickly). If you want me to copy it out for you I would be happy to. Let me know!

meemalee said...

Big couscous should mean big taste. How disappointing :(

TheFastestIndian said...

Thanks Joy- have had a look at the link you posted and it does seem like there is a lot more to it! I think I might try the steaming option too.

@Meemalee - It was disappointing, but Joy's commetns have encouraged me to give it another go!

fingersandtoes said...

It works better if you treat it a bit like risotto - fry it with a bit of onion/celery first, then cook it in some stock.

Dan the Man said...

Oh my god! I tried giant couscous for the first time tonight and it was a massive disappointment. It was terrible. The single most slimy thing that I've ever had the misfortune to consume. The only positive was that it made the other parts of the dish more appetising by comparison. I would not recommend getting Giant Couscous unless you really know what you are doing with it. It is a slippery beast that should be avoided at all costs.

Dan the Man said...
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