Rebecca Wood
Rebecca Wood
Be Nourished

Healing with Food Article

Couscous

Accompanying recipe: Couscous Marmalade Torte

Feather-light couscous is the sweetest of all traditional grain products, but is not an actual grain. It is like a minuscule pasta made from durum wheat, the type of wheat most often used for pasta.

The couscous found in supermarkets and natural food stores is usually made from semolina, which is refined durum. Semolina couscous is a golden color and has a good shelf life. In natural food stores, you can also find tan-colored whole grain couscous that boasts a much wider flavor and nutrient range. However, because whole couscous contains the germ of the wheat, it becomes rancid with age. Select couscous, especially whole wheat couscous, that looks fresh and has a fresh aroma and taste.

Couscous originated in North Africa where Berber women would form it by hand, rolling a mixture of moistened durum granules between their palms and then leaving it to dry in the sun. How I would have loved to watch their fingers at work. Couscous was then steamed over a spicy stew in a couscousière, a two-part pot with a deep bottom part and an upper basket, so it could absorb all those rich aromas and flavors. It was then served with the meal. Today, couscous is mechanically manufactured and couldn't be easier to make. In the United States couscous is most often used in a quick pilaf.

Energetically, couscous—and other quality wheat products—can help to nurture the heart, calm and focus the mind and treat a wide range of stress and mental health symptoms. It also supports the spleen, liver and kidney meridians. In Ayurveda it balances vata and pitta. However, couscous is a wheat product and is best avoided by those with wheat sensitivities.

For a quick cooking cereal or side dish, place 1 cup of couscous into a bowl, mix in a little olive oil and sea salt and pour 1 cup of boiling water over the couscous. Cover for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork. As a compliment to a substantial meal, couscous is a hit.

The featured recipe is Couscous Marmalade Torte.

May you be well nourished,

Rebecca Wood

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