Steamed Couscous, the Authentic Way
- 3 cups couscous
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups water
- Stick cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
Set couscous in a bowl and pour 2 quarts water over it. Swish around and drain water off. Spread couscous grain in a baking pan and leave them to swell for 10 minutes. Rub couscous between your wet hands to break up lumps. Let stand another 10 minutes.
Combine the broth, water cinnamon stick, ginger and cumin in the bottom of a couscousiere. Secure the top of the couscousiere to the bottom with a dampened piece of cheesecloth, lightly dusted with flour and large enough to go around the rim of the top. When the liquid comes to a boil, slowly dribble 1/4 of the swollen couscous into steamer, forming them into a mound. Steam uncovered for 5 minutes, then add the remaining couscous. Steam over low heat, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Remove the top of the couscousiere (if the liquid in the bottom seems low, add some more water or broth) and dump the couscous into a large shallow pan and spread it out with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cold water and 1/2 teaspoon salt over the couscous. Break up lumps by lifting couscous and stirring the grains with a fork. Lightly oil your hands and rework grains, rubbing them through your fingertips, to keep them separate. Dry for 10 minutes. (Can do in advance up to this point and keep until the final steaming with a damp cloth over top).
Return the dried couscous to the top of the couscousiere (resealing it with cheesecloth again) and dribble couscous in as before, in a soft mound. Steam uncovered for 20 minutes more. Serve with chick peas stew and garnish with sliced toasted almonds.
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