Cous Cous is a North African speciality, traditionally made by sprinkling the semolina of durum wheat with water and working it by hand creating granules which are steam cooked. The Cous Cous making process takes a lot of time, in traditional cultures, women would gather together for days at a time and prepare large amounts of Cous Cous, which would dry under the hot sun. In this way Cous Cous would last for months. The Arabic name of Cous Cous simply means “food”.
Today the cous cous making process is done by machines, moreover the granules are gently pre-steamed and then dried in order to reduce cooking time to a few minutes.
Our Cous Cous are made with ingredients that comes from MAIA’s farm.
We don’t use durum wheat semolina for our cous cous, in fact we have chosen between MAIA’s product those we considered most suitable to get the most original cous cous with the best nutritional value: buckwheat and millet as gluten-free, chickpeas their high content of protein and fiber, faro (emmer) because of its unique taste. The combination of cereals and legumes produces a very balanced nutrition: the ratio of protein and carbohydrates is ideal and all the essential aminoacids are represented. The grains of cereals and legumes that we use are cold-milled with a traditional stone-mill, this allows to keep intact the nutritional and organoleptic qualities of the product.
MAIA offers two types of cous cous:
Buckwheat and chickpeas cous cous: very rich in protein and fiber, made from gluten free ingredients, special flavor
Millet and buckwheat cous cous: delicate taste that goes well with everything, made from gluten free ingredients
How to use them:
Usually cous cous accompanies meat dishes and/or vegetables, and it’s fine both for cold and warm dishes. On the Mediterranean coast, it goes with fish too and it can also be used to make wonderful cold salads.
Basic recipe: Put the cous cous in a low, wide container (preferably Terracotta). One 1/2 cup of cous cous is a sufficient amount for one person. Add a drizzle of olive oil and mix well. In a pan, boil some water with salt or vegetable broth. Make sure that the amount of water is equal to that of the cous cous. (For example, 3cups of cous cous need 3 cups of water/broth.) Add the water/broth to the cous cous, without stirring, cover and let it rest for 10 minutes. Finally, take a fork and toss the cous cous. Serve as desired.
Warm Cous Cous salad
Ingredients (makes 4 servings, since cous cous is also delicious when consumed the following day, the quantaties are generous): 500 g of cous cous, 200 g of marinated sun-dried tomatoes, 150 g of chick peas, 5 courgets, 1 scallion, 1 spoon of sesame seeds, 1 spoon of poppy seeds, the juiceand zest of 1 lemon, extra-virgin olive oil, tumeric, cumin, salt.
Cooking Instructions: prepare the cous cous according to the basic recipe. Finely chop the scallion, cut the courgets into cubes and toss it all into a non-stick pan for a few minutes. Add the chick peas (which – if using dried chick peas – should have been previously left to soak in water and then boiled), stir everything and add half a cup of water. Let cook for 5 minutes. Shut off the flame and add the spices (tumeric and cumin) as desired. Stir the spices into the vegetables and let them cool. In the meantime, in another non-stick pan, toast the sesame and poppy seeds for 1 minute. When they are slightly browned, put all of the ingredients together (including the marinated sun-dried tomatoes). Add the lemon zest and its juice, another drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and the warm cous cous salad is ready.
Spiced Aubergine Cous Cous
Ingredients (makes 4 servings, as a side dish, or for 2 servings as a main dish): 200 g of cous cous, 1 big aubergine, minced clove of garlic, 1 tablespoonl of cumin powder, a dash of cinnamon powder, 1 teaspoon of savoury paprika powder, a dash of clove powder, salt, 1 tablespoon of butter, olive oil, a small bunch of chopped fresh coriander (or parsely), 2 spring onions
Cooking Instructions: prepare the cous cous according to the basic recipe , Wash the aubergine and cut it into small cubes. Warm up a pan and drizzle some olive oil in it. Toss in the aubergine cubes and all of the spices (cinnamon, cumin, paprika, and cloves and garlic). Eventually add a bit of water to keep the mixture moist. Once the aubergine is cooked, let it cool. Put the aubergine, fresh coriander (or parsely), and the minced spring onions all together. Combine the couscous with the aubergine mixture and serve lukewarm.
Radicchio and Cous Cous salad
Ingredients (makes 4 servings, as a side dish, or 2 servings as a main dish): 200 g of cous cous, 2 oranges, 1 buch of radicchio, 1 pomegranate, 80 g of olives in brine, 1 small bunch of sage, extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
Cooking Instructions: prepare the cous cous according to the basic recipe also adding the juice from half an orange. Wash the Radicchio leaves, dry them and cut them into thin strips. Remove the skin from the oranges and cut all of the wedges into small pieces. Combine the cous cous and the pomegranate, then add the olives, the radicchio strips, and the pieces of orange. Add salt and pepper to taste. Wash and dry 8 sage leaves and fry them in a little bit of oil. Finally use them as a garnish.
Cous Cous with saffron and mushrooms
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 350 g of cous cous, 200 g of Champignon mushrooms, 200 g of aged Pecorino cheese in flakes, garlic powder, a packet of saffron, 4 branches of Marjoram, 4 spoons of extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, 30 g of pinenuts, salt and pepper.
Cooking Instructions: prepare the cous cous according to the basic recipe also adding the packet of saffron. Toast the pine nuts in a small non-stick pan. Clean the mushrooms, removing the bottom part of the stem. Wash them, dry them and cut them into long, thin slices. Marinate the mushrooms in lemon juice and vinegar. Stir the flakes of aged Pecorino cheese into the cooled cous cous. Then add the marinated mushroom slices and the small Marjoram leaves. Add salt and fresh grounded pepper to to taste, mix well. Serve the cous cous mixture onto individual plates, top with the toasted pine nuts, and serve.