I live here in sunny Southern California. As many people know, there are two Californias. I live in the warmer locale. One of the great things about America is the enormous variety of food that can be found here. My favorite food is Israeli because of the many ingredients they use to make some of the tastiest dishes to be found anywhere! So I hope to share with you some of my secrets and knowledge to make you more knowledgeable and comfortable with the best of Israeli cuisine!
This means that I enjoy cooking and employing tried and true techniques to make the food taste better. Let’s start with couscous. It is a staple in Israel and it is in the Middle East. This means there are variations on a theme. It is a type of ground wheat semolina pasta, not grains, a solid base that can be pepped up with all kinds of exotic flavors. Israeli and Moroccan couscous are not exactly alike.
I love the scene in the movie, Pineapple Express, when one character exclaims, “Couscous, the food so nice, they named it twice.” Not sure which variety he was mentioning. Interestingly enough, the Israeli version of the semolina is larger in terms of the granule size, maybe as big as small pearls. It uses a toasting process rather than the drying technique preferred in Morocco. They both end up being cooked in boiling water.
Water is an important element in cooking any dish and we usually take it for granted. However, chemicals and impurities can taint its taste and affect the outcome of the couscous flavor. No one wants to eat toxins in any case. Israeli semolina pasta is known for its nutty flavor and more chewy texture. Why not get the most of it by using filtered water from one of these machines. Yes, you heard me. It doesn’t have to be bottled water from the fridge. You can install a simple system on the kitchen faucet. This is my first and most important tip.
The next is to add salt to the water to draw out the inherent taste. It is easy and fun to make Israeli couscous and it tastes so good with almost anything added. Some people like vegetable or chicken broth. I suggest trying each one and judging for yourself. Meanwhile, the couscous should be light and fluffy. If it is gummy, you cooked it for too long. You will have to start over.
You can add diced vegetables as you like, chunks of lamb or chicken, and nuts. Israeli couscous makes a great sweet with cinnamon and milk. I like to experiment and make it a different way all the time.