how to steam couscous

This is a cooking tip on how to steam couscous. As you might know couscous is the name for a bunch of tiny wheat balls. That people in the northern part of Africa steam in a special pot. With the wonderful name tagine. It’s form is unique and beautiful. However this pot is taking a lot of space in a kitchen. Hence my solution to use a sieve and a clean linen kitchen towel

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editor's note

Couscous is made of wheat flour. That is rolled into tiny small balls. And originally dried on palm leaves in the African sun. Each grain is different. There is couscous made from spelt wheat, durum (hard wheat) and so on. Each sort has it own structure and sensibility to steam. So see my instructions as a base. From which you could experiment and learn. What kind of preparation works for you. To make a comfortable bowl of couscous


  • 1 cup of Couscous grains
  • 2 tbs. of Olive Oil
  • water


  • a Saucepan
  • a Lid or Plate 
  • a spoon or Spatula
  • a Sieve or Colander
  • a bowl
  • a clean Linen Kitchen Towel


  1. Fill 1/3 of your saucepan with water
  2. When boiling, turn down the heat to a minimum
  3. Place a sieve or colander upon your saucepan
  4. Cover the sieve or colander, with a clean linen kitchen towel
  5. Slide couscous grains into the linen towel
  6. Cover your sieve or colandar with a lid or plate
  7. Turn the heat a bit up
  8. Secure the water is not wetting your linen kitchen towel
  9. After a few minutes, give the grains a good but careful stir
  10. This to make sure all sides of each grain will get a sufficient shot of steam
  11. Try and taste a bit of couscous
  12. When al dente
  13. Remove your couscous from the heat
  14. Turn of the heat
  15. Scrape couscous from linen kitchen towel
  16. Sorry, this is the messy part
  17. And transfer couscous to bowl
  18. Add oil to couscous
  19. Mix well
  20. Close bowl with lid or plate
  21. Count from 10-1
  22. Add spices to couscous
  23. Mix well
  24. Add all other ingredients you had in mind
  25. Mix well
  26. Serve lukewarm
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