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  • Since You Asked: Clumping couscous quickly overcome

  • I'm having trouble with couscous clumping. I've tried boxed and bulk, but they both clump. I don't believe the ratio of water to couscous is off. I think it's the pasta's small size. Do you have a favorite brand?
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  • I'm having trouble with couscous clumping. I've tried boxed and bulk, but they both clump. I don't believe the ratio of water to couscous is off. I think it's the pasta's small size. Do you have a favorite brand?
    — Wendy S., Talent
    This problem likely is related to cooking methods rather than couscous brands.
    For clump-free couscous, put it in a heatproof bowl and stir continuously while pouring twice the quantity of boiling water on top. Let stand, covered, for about 10 minutes or until the water is absorbed, then fluff with a fork instead of scooping with a spoon.
    You could try larger Israeli couscous, which should be cooked on the stove but isn't so prone to clumping. Also called "pearl" couscous, this style is sold plain or tricolored.
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    4 cups cauliflower florets
    1 small shallot, peeled and sliced
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
    1/4 cup dried tart cherries or golden raisins
    1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
    1/4 cup chopped, fresh parsley or snipped chives
    Cook the couscous according to package directions until just tender. Drain if needed and set aside.
    In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the cauliflower and shallot and sauté for about 5 minutes or until florets are slightly browned. Season with the salt, pepper and cinnamon, if using. Add the cherries and saute for about 2 minutes. Stir in cooked couscous and the vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley or chives and serve hot.
    Makes 6 side-dish servings.
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