Couscousiere

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CoucousDilemna

Assistant Cook
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Messages
4
Location
Canada
This is a very basic question.

I purchased a couscousiere for my father for Christmas. I have never used one, nor has he. We both always just used the instant couscous from the grocery store.

He is not sure how to use it. Most of the recipes he sees on the internet suggest that you just put the couscous on top -- but when he does that, the couscous just falls through the holes in the top part of the couscousiere. Presumably, he should be using real couscous, not the instant stuff. But what is the difference? And wouldn't real couscous also just fall through the holes?

Some recipes suggest that, if one does not own a couscousiere, one can improvise using a colander and some cheese cloth. I would assume one does not need cheese cloth to successfully use a couscousiere, but maybe I am wrong.

I would love to be able to tell my father how to properly use the couscousiere. If anyone knows, I would much appreciate the advice. Thanks.
 

Michael in FtW

Master Chef
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Sep 5, 2004
Messages
6,592
Location
Fort Worth, TX
I've never had one - but I've seen them used and always wondered about them. I, too, always wondered what would keep the couscous from falling through the holes. I've seen them lined with muslin and sometimes they were not.

So, I went out to google and searched on "couscousiere" and found this: it seems the trick is to soak the couscous for several minutes so that it swells before you add it to the couscousiere. That's logical - if it swells up and is larger than the holes then it won't call thru.

Of course, none of these instructions had anything to do with "instant" couscous ...

I know this isn't a definitive answer - but it's something to think about.
 

Claire

Master Chef
Joined
Sep 4, 2004
Messages
7,967
Location
Galena, IL
I, too, have mostly used instant (I think the brand is Near East), but have always wanted a couscousiere (don't ask me why ... well, maybe because I've always wanted to go to Morocco!) and a tangiere (may be misspelled). At any rate, with a lot of other kinds of steamers (for example dim sum), a circle cut to fit the bottom out of wax paper works as well. My Moroccan cookbook (The Moroccan Collectin by Hilaire Waldon) recommends the cheesecloth method. I also have access to something called "Israeli Couscous" which is larger grained.
 

Michael in FtW

Master Chef
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Sep 5, 2004
Messages
6,592
Location
Fort Worth, TX
Claire .... we may not get to Morocco, we may not get to Casablaca ... but, we'll always have Paris.

(Sorry - just couldn't resist)
 

Claire

Master Chef
Joined
Sep 4, 2004
Messages
7,967
Location
Galena, IL
I love it!!!! And .... I'll probably never get to Morocco, but Paris is in the future, I swear it is (I lived there as a very young child and would like to revisit the few things I remember). I'll bet I can buy a couscousiere there!!! Of course I'll either be with hubby and/or a blind freind who needs a guide, not Bogie. This could be the beginning of a beautiful freindship!
 

Ishbel

Executive Chef
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Messages
2,977
Location
Scotland
I've always soaked the dried couscous before cooking it - haven't had an problems with the meal falling through the holes!

Tagines - About 15 years ago I brought 2 of them back from a holiday in Morocco - in my hand luggage - only to find that I could buy EXACTLY the same type in my local department store :-(
 

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