Israeli Couscous

I love couscous. I had never had it until I moved to France. It’s easy to fix and goes really great with tajine dishes. One day, while surfing the net, I found a recipe on a blog-I can’t remember where now-which called for Israeli Couscous. I had no idea what it was and I couldn’t find it anywhere here in Paris and was about to try regular couscous when I finally found it. It turns out that it isn’t like the regular product that you buy but is actually a pasta invented when rice and couscous was hard to come by in Israel. Who knew, right?

Notice that it doesn’t say Israeli Couscous on the package but ble dur-hard wheat or, I guess, pasta which is one reason it was so hard to find.

The recipe was fairly complex and it took me over a week to come up with all of the ingredients. Besides the Israeli couscous, I had to find a butternut squash which is not common here in Paris. I also needed golden raisins which took me to several stores and pine nuts. Locating preserved lemons had me at the food market at Galeries LaFayette where I finally saw some. So I finally made the dish and when I served it to Maurice he more or less said, “Meh.” It just didn’t have any taste so I added a vinagarette which helped but I could tell that it wouldn’t be requested by Maurice again unlike the white bean and roasted red pepper salad I had made. I really like all of the textures in the dish though-crunchy nuts, chewy sweet raisins, the slightly sour taste of the preserved lemons. I especially loved the texture of the Israli couscous.

Here it is in my hand to show you the size. Would you believe that I didn’t take a photo of the finisihed dish? I don’t know why.

So I have an unfinished package of the couscous in my cabinet and decided I needed to try and use it. So this time I boiled up the couscous for about 15 minutes and drained it and added chopped peel of a preserved lemon, dried cranberries, a sauted, chopped onion, pinenuts, roasted tomates and chopped avocado. I also made a vinagarette to mix in it. It turned out very good. I think that the next time I make this dish, I will also add either shrimp or chopped chicken. It was much easier than the other dish and I liked the taste. Maybe I will even remember to take a photo.

7 thoughts to “Israeli Couscous”

  1. I can’t believe you had trouble finding those ingredients, in Paris of all places. Here in small-town (7,000 inhabitants) Sweden my grocery store carries all of those things. As for butternut squash, we ate one weekly from October to February and they were all imported from France! Hard to find in Paris? Incredible! 🙂

    Those Israeli couscous look the same as the Lebanese moghrabiah I’ve been trying to convince the husband that we should try. He’s kind of sceptical though since the cupboards are already overflowing with “exotic grains”.

  2. I tried my first couscous in France as well. Then I never really thought about it again until the past year. It is easy to find in the grocery store hear and I bought some already flavored. The kids actually liked it so I’ve continue to fix it occasionally. You did well to come up with your own fixings to flavor it. Very inventive. I’m such a recipe follower.

  3. You should’ve shown us the dish! I’m sure it looked delicious! I doubt I’d find this here… We’ve only got regular packet couscous from Tesco.

  4. They were serving this once at a conference I went to – it was the vegetarian option on the small buffet. I asked them what it was and after a lot of conferring in the kitchen they finally came out and told me they thought it was couscous. I didn’t believe them because that’s NOT what couscous looks like. I ate it anyway and it was pretty good. I haven’t been motivated to make it myself though.

  5. Interesting! That’s not like Moroccan couscous.
    In Mauritania, the couscous was made by hand and it was about that size, but brown, made from millet. I didn’t like it cuz it inevitably had “l’epice de Mauritanie”–sand–in it.

  6. I have not heard of Israeli couscous either, only Morrocan. Interesting.

    The church ceilings are always so interesting.

    So much snow in Paris was unusual and yes we hyave had unusual weather this year.

    Did you know that the link on your comments takes one straight to Heather Bullard site??

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