Couscous is of Middle Eastern origin. It is a common food staple in North Africa.

This versatile grain is made from purified durum wheat middlings (called semolina), which have been ground and rolled into small pellets. Traditionally this process was done by hand and took many days. Nowadays it is available in instant (quick-cook) form or as a more traditional option which takes longer to cook.

The instant version only takes as little as five minutes to prepare and can be enjoyed on its own or with seasonings and sauces. When it is cooked, it has a light and fluffy texture

Couscous is served with many different African recipes. Plain couscous has very little of its own flavor. Instead it easily absorbs and compliments any flavors that are added to it, which is why it is a perfect choice to serve with many African recipes, which are already rich with flavor. Or start with this basic recipe and dress it up with sauces or spices of your own to create the flavors you are looking for.

The basic recipe below requires instant couscous, which can be bought from most supermarkets.

To Make this recipe, you will need the following:

NOTE: Do not boil or stir couscous, please follow the directions provided below.


⅔ cup instant couscous
1 cup water
salt to taste (optional)


  1. Place water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Stir in couscous and cover with lid.
  3. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
  4. Fluff with a fork and set aside until ready to serve.


Serve with any vegetable, meat or bean sauce. Our favorite way to serve it is with Moroccan Lamb Stew, but you can serve it with just about any sauce.

You can also use plain cooked couscous to make a warm or cold salad.

This basic couscous recipe can be served with several of our
Main African Dishes. Click this link to see our recommended options!