I learnt about couscous from Food Network. Couscous is a type of Middle Eastern pasta made from semolina flour and dried. Traditionally, It is cooked by steaming for a long time. The varieties sold in the grocery stores are pre-steamed for convenience and are ready in 10 minutes. Even though, it is a pasta, it neither looks nor tastes like regular pasta, but like cracked wheat.
When I saw couscous on TV, I thought it was interesting and picked up a box of whole wheat variety from Trader Joes during our next shopping trip. It was just lying in my kitchen cupboard until I decided to try it one Friday evening. I decided to prepare a cold salad with garbanzo beans and vegetables and a hot and spicy vegetable dish.
I found the salad recipe online at http://vegetarian.about.com/od/middleeasternrecipes/r/couscousmint.htm and followed it word to word. It turned out great. Being a hot day, the cold salad was a relief.
For the vgetable dish, I sauteed garlic, red chilli flakes, red onion, tomato, tomato paste, zucchini, carrot, red and green bell peppers and green olives in olive oil and cooked them with vegetable broth (red wine or white wine reduction may be used too). I added salt and pepper to taste. Then, I added the cooked couscous, mixed and removed from heat. Finally added some chopped parsley, mixed in and served hot. It was yummy and an interesting alternative to pasta.