Archive | March 2011

Pasta for Dessert?! Egyptian-style Sweet Couscous

Couscous is one of those foods that is automatically associated with Morocco in most people’s minds. It is, in fact, consumed widely all across North Africa. Most interestingly, Egyptians eat couscous as a sweet item: for breakfast, a light supper, or dessert!

This recipe uses couscous, sugar, cinnamon, coconut, raisins, and nuts, to make an incredibly simple, yet very surprising dish.

A little info on couscous, for those of you who have never had it or don’t know much about it: Couscous is simply a pasta that is shaped into tiny little balls, but is much more versatile than the kind of pasta most Americans usually think of.

In Palestine, we have a variation of couscous that is called maftool. Maftool is also shaped into small balls, but they are slightly larger than those of North African couscous; they resemble little pearls. Ever heard of “Israeli Couscous?” Yeah. Maftool is about as Israeli as falafel or hummus, i.e it’s not.

For maftool, we make a tomato sauce with chickpeas and onions to serve with the pasta; it is one of my favorite traditional Palestinian dishes, and I will post a recipe for it sometime soon, inshallah!

But for now, it’s sugar time:

Ingredients:

2 cups of couscous (usually comes in a box in the Middle Eastern section of your grocery store)

1/4 cup of melted butter

Toppings: whatever you like! Mix it up:

White sugar/brown sugar/powdered sugar/honey

Cinnamon

Raisins (any kind you like)

Coconut

Walnuts/Almonds/Hazelnuts

Sweetened condensed milk

Method

Put the dry couscous in a bowl.

Uncooked North African couscous..

Pour the melted butter over it, and mix in so that the butter coats all the couscous. Then, pour enough boiling water over the couscous to cover it by about half an inch.

Cover the bowl of buttery couscous and hot water and let it sit for about ten minutes. (I like to let it sit in the microwave because it’s insulated.) The couscous will absorb all the hot water and cook.

Fluff the couscous with a fork, then top with any combination of toppings you like!

Here is a picture of the bowl I made for myself this morning. My favorite toppings for Sweet Couscous are brown sugar, powdered sugar, almonds, coconut, and cinnamon.

It’s kind of like oatmeal, but definitely a lot more interesting. Try it!

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