How to Properly Cook Israeli Couscous
Is there anything more basic than Israeli couscous? (In Israel we call them “ptitim”). This is a household staple and it makes many a lunch / supper appearance. It’s a genius invention that the whole family loves.
So how is it that there is still so much uncertainty regarding how to cook such a basic food? The first mistake people make is to prepare it according to the instructions written on the package. I mean, who likes the sticky mushy clump you get when you’re done that you then have to remove from the pot and work hard to separate into individual “grains”?
There’s an endless discussion of whether you need one cup of boiling water or one and a half cups of boiling water for every one cup of dry Israeli couscous, and whether or not to just use room temperature tap water to start? And how much oil do you need – one tablespoon or maybe two?
And my favorite is that you can’t prepare Israeli couscous in advance, it has to be made fresh. Give me a break…
Do you cover the pot fully or only partially? And should it be cooked on high heat, low heat or somewhere in the middle? It can be quite confusing!
When will someone finally answer all these questions so we can make Israeli couscous that isn’t one clumpy oily mass? What’s so hard about that? It’s just Israeli couscous, it shouldn’t be so complicated.
I’m here to solve the mystery once and for all so you can make Israeli couscous the way it should be made. Once you try this method, you won’t believe how easy it is. I even made a video clip for you.
Makes 4-5 servings
2 cups Israeli couscous
1 tsp oil (see the amount of oil)
480 ml boiling water (2 cups)
1 Tbsp Moroccan paprika
1/2 Tbsp salt
Ground black pepper
1 Tbsp honey
1. I like to use the Israeli couscous mixed with noodles but you can use whatever type of Israeli couscous is available. Dice the onion. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pot and add the onion. Sauté for around two minutes while stirring.
2. Boil the water separately (in a kettle, water bar or separate pot), add the Israeli couscous to the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the honey and spices.
3. Add the boiling water to the Israeli couscous, bring to a boil for 20 seconds then cover the pot and turn off the heat. Wait at least 10 minutes, fluff with a fork, cover again and wait 15 minutes.
3. After 15 minutes have passed, fluff again and serve.
Good to know…
You can prepare this a few hours or even a day in advance. You can’t leave the onion out. You can leave out the paprika. The Israeli couscous cooks for a few minutes before you add the boiling water and then for 20 seconds from the moment the water is added; there’s no cooking on low heat.
Before I started I consulted my most trusted source of information, which is my mother. I asked her to share everything she knows about cooking Israeli couscous.
Although I already knew most of what she told me, I still needed to hear what she had to say because she’s an amazing cook.