Hand-Rolled Couscous

Hand-Rolled Couscous

“Crafting Couscous: No Grain, No Gain” via The New York Times


500 grams Bob’s Red Mill or other semolina flour (2 3/4 cups)
1 ½ teaspoons salt, or to taste
⅓ cup canola, soybean or vegetable oil
2 cups water, beef or chicken broth


  1. Put the semolina in a large mixing bowl. Place 1/2 cup water in a sprayer and use it to moisten the semolina. Begin by spraying the surface, stirring the mixture with your hand, pressing down and moving the palm in a circular motion. It is better to have too little moisture than too much because you don’t want to create a dough. Continue to spray and mix until water is evenly incorporated into the semolina; it should form tiny granules without clumping, and not all the water may be needed.
  2. At this point, depending on the texture of the mixture, you may want to sift it for uniformity and to remove any small clumps. To sift it, shake the moistened semolina through a strainer or colander with holes about 1/8 inch in diameter (better slightly larger than smaller) and into another bowl. After most of it has passed through, stir to continue to pass it through, then press to pass as much as possible. There may be a small amount of doughy mixture that won’t go through the strainer — as much as 1/3 cup — and this may be discarded.
  3. Prepare a couscoussiere or steamer by adding four to five inches of water to the bottom, and bring it to a boil. Add the semolina and steam uncovered for 10 minutes, mixing about every 30 seconds to prevent clumping; after 10 minutes, the mixture won’t clump any more.
  4. Cover, and continue to steam for another 30 minutes, stirring about every 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer the couscous to a bowl, sprinkle with salt, and drizzle with oil. Stir gently with a fork. The couscous may be covered and refrigerated at this point for up to three days.
  6. To serve, bring 2 cups of water or broth to a boil, and set aside. Steam the couscous one more time, covered, over boiling water, for another 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add 1 to 2 cups of the liquid so it is moist but not wet. Fluff, and serve immediately, or if desired, pass once more through a large-holed sieve or colander. It may be cooled and refrigerated for up to three days; reheat by steaming.