Couscous (Plain and Cinnamon)

Plain CouscousCooking the perfect couscous may seem easy and generally it is, but it is also very easy for it to go very wrong. I should know, I’ve had enough couscous catastrophes to last me a lifetime; too wet, too dry, too clumpy – if there is a couscous calamity out there, I’ve suffered it!

In spite of my failings over the years, I’ve persevered with my mediocre attempts until I finally figured out the key to good couscous: olive oil…and your index finger. Sounds a bit strange? It’s really not. In fact, the key to my couscous conundrum is surprisingly simple – the trick is to lightly oil the grains before adding the boiling water. This simple act will produce clump free, fluffy couscous every time. I’ve been following this simple method for years now and I’ve been enjoying the perfect couscous ever since – now so can you.

For more delicious Moroccan recipes please click here, or if you would like to read on about Moroccan food, please click here

Couscous: Serves 4

Plain Couscous:

  • 2 cups couscous
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 cups boiling water, plus a splash

For Cinnamon Couscous:

  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon


  1. Put a kettle on to boil
  2. Place couscous in a bowl
  3. Add salt & pepper to taste
  4. If making Cinnamon Couscous, add the ground cinnamon
  5. Pour in olive oil
  6. Using your index finger, mix the couscous and oil until the grains are coated – the couscous should look like damp sand
  7. Partially cover the bowl with cling wrap, leaving a small gap to add the water
  8. As soon as the kettle boils, add 2 cups of boiling water plus a quick splash
  9. Immediately cover the bowl with the cling wrap
  10. Give the bowl a gentle swirl and cover with a tea towel
  11. Leave covered for at least 20 minutes
  12. Before serving gently tease the grains with a fork

Serve with: Plain couscous is the perfect accompaniment to any Moroccan Tagine or as part of a Tabbouleh



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