What is Kuskus?
Kuskus is a popular dish in the North African and Mediterranean countries. It is traditionally made of semolina pasta that is grounded and mixed with other dishes like meat dishes, stews, and vegetables. A typical kuskus dish has a spicy flavor. Some refer to this dish as “Couscous” while those in Lebanon call this dish as “maftoul”. In Morocco and Algeria, kuskus is called “Kesksu” or “seksu”. Just like rice, kuskus is a staple food in many countries near the Mediterranean Sea. And since it is a carbohydrate-based ingredient, kuskus is commonly added to meat-based dishes and stews.
Kuskus as a dish was first mentioned in cook books that date back to the 13th century. From Granada to Syria, and Egypt to the Middle East, kuskus has grown widely popular in many countries. By the 16th century, kuskus was able to reach Turkey and eventually landed in the dinner tables of Western Europe. Today, aside from North African and Mediterranean countries, many other countries in Europe and other parts of the world also prepare kuskus-inspired dishes. And with the spread of kuskus to different countries, there are also different variations in the preparation of the dish. In terms of seasoning, saffron is the popular choice in Morocco and their dish usually involves the addition of fish. For Algerians meanwhile, tomato is added to kuskus, while Tunisians prefer a hot pepper sauce added to the coarsely-grounded semolina.
Kuskus dishes have also become popular because of the ease in preparation. Some even claim that kuskus may be prepared faster than cooking rice. There are also pre-steamed varieties available in many grocery outlets resulting to faster dish preparation. It is also common for people to prepare several side dishes separately with kuskus. Along with the grounded semolina, meat dishes may be prepared on the table with separate containers to give people the option on what to mix with their kuskus. And aside from traditional meat dishes and stews, kuskus may also be prepared as a salad using beans, peas, and vegetables.