816 North Diversions

September 24, 2013

Eating for Life — Couscous adds flavor in a flash

Need more flavor fast?

Need more flavor fast?

Stock the pantry with instant couscous, a low-fat source of complex carbohydrates that is faster to prepare than most types of rice.

A decade ago, the search for even plain couscous would have left most supermarket shoppers scratching their heads. Now you can find an array of flavors thanks to the addition of garlic, herbs, curry, parmesan or pine nuts.

The starch of choice across North Africa, couscous is often referred to as a grain, but it’s actually a fluffy semolina (think pasta) used to sop up the juices from an array of stewed chicken, lamb and vegetable dishes.

While Moroccan cooks typically use saffron to flavor their couscous dishes, The Star’s Moroccan-Style Skillet Chicken creates warm fall flavors by using pumpkin pie spice, chili powder and cumin.

• Shopping tip:

Our testers used a 5.8-ounce box of Near East Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil Couscous. The brand you choose may affect the nutritional analysis so be sure to check the label.

• Money-saving tip:

Pumpkin pie spice is less expensive than saffron, but you can also save more money by making your own homemade version using spices commonly found in the American spice cabinet.

Combine 11/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice. Source: www.southernfood.about.com.

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