Couscous Vs Israeli Couscous: What’s The Difference?

If you’ve seen the movie “Pineapple Express,” you probably remember when one of the characters exclaimed, “Couscous: The food so nice, they named it twice.” However, when you’re first learning to cook, you may be confused about what couscous actually is, and how it differs from its cousin, Israeli couscous. When simple recipes call for one or the other, it’s important to use the right variety because these two products are not as similar as their names lead you to believe.

Although the granules look like grains, couscous is actually tiny ground pasta made from a type of wheat called semolina. Unlike other pastas, which are mixed with water and eggs into sheets, couscous is made by rubbing semolina between wet hands until miniscule pieces are formed. The couscous is then dried and later cooked in boiling water.

Israeli couscous
Israeli couscous is also a type of pasta, but consists of granules that are much larger – about the size of small pearls. Made from wheat flour and semolina, Israeli couscous has a ball-like shape and is toasted, rather than dried, after the granules are formed. This process gives Israeli couscous a nuttier flavor and chewy bite that adds an unexpected touch to regional recipes.

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