Whole wheat Israeli couscous. A delicious and healthy way to enjoy these addicting little balls of roasted semolina flour. In Israel they call it ptitim, invented by the Osem food company when Ben Gurion asked them to develop a wheat based substitute for rice during a shortage there. The original ptitim were rice-shaped, but evolved over time to this round pearl couscous.
Israeli couscous is similar to Lebanese Maftoul (which I am dying to try), although Maftoul is made using bulgur and wheat rather than semolina.
Until now, I’ve always eaten the refined white flour version of Israeli couscous, and felt unsatisfied no matter how much I ate at a sitting, which was often considerable. But this whole wheat version is so much more flavorful and filling that a 1/2 cup serving is enough for me.
We made whole wheat Israeli Couscous tonight using chicken broth and fresh herbs, then served it tossed with roast cauliflower and fresh rosemary alongside pesto-topped broiled basa filet, with some homemade applesauce for desert. A hearty yet healthy dinner, I must say.
We got our couscous at Fairway, but you can get it almost anywhere these days, including online. The traditional brand is Osems, but Bob’s Red Mill makes it, as does Roland. Make sure you get the whole wheat version.
HERBED WHOLE WHEAT ISRAELI COUSCOUS w/ ROASTED CAULIFLOWER
The key to great Israeli cous cous is to pan roast it to bring out the nutty flavor before cooking it in liquid. Some people cook Israeli cous cous like pasta, draining the water off before serving. Others treat it more like rice, which to me seems preferable. This difference may account for the wide range of ratios of couscous to liquid found in recipes around the web. I”ve settled on 1 1/4 cups liquid per cup of couscous. This is a very simple preparation, but you can make it as complex as you want depending on what you add to it – onions, garlic, you name it.
- 2 cups whole wheat Israeli CousCous
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1-15 oz can chicken broth + enough water to make 2 1/2 cups liquid total
- 2 tbsp thyme leaves
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (plus whole leaves for garnish)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Roast cauliflower (recipe here)
- Sheep’s MilkYogurt (Optional garnish)
Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. Toss in couscous and cook over medium high heat till lightly toasted (about 4 mins), adding the herbs about half way through. Add liquid and bring to a boil, then turn down to a low simmer, cover and cook till the liquid is absorbed, about 15-20 mins.
Toss with roast cauliflower and fresh rosemary. Serve with a dollop of Sheeps’ Milk Yogurt.