Israeli vs. Arab Couscous

Keep it civil or we'll send in UN peacekeepers

Moderator: Moderator

Stew Ingredient
Posts: 10866
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2005 3:59 am
Location: Menlo Park, California

Israeli vs. Arab Couscous

Postby Steve_in_Exile » Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:30 pm

Is there a difference? The first time I had couscous was in Algeria, and it was a pearl type couscous, sort of more like pasta than cracked wheat. I love that type. But now what we buy at the supermarket is marketed as "Israeli couscous", and it is similar. I read online that there is also a "Moroccan couscous".

Image

Stew Ingredient
User avatar
Posts: 53049
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:35 pm

Re: Israeli vs. Arab Couscous

Postby VinnyD » Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:37 pm

Israeli couscous is not couscous.

In the early days of the state of Israel, foreign exchange was a serious problem. And Israelis from the Arab world wanted rice, all of which needed to be imported, at every meal. Ben-Gurion asked a friend in the food business if he could come up with something that could be made domestically that could be used as a rice substitute, and the friend came up with a rice-sized wheat-flour-based pasta they called Israeli couscous.

Arab couscous is made from semolina, a coarser grind than flour, rolled into pellets, and (in the case of couscous from a box) steamed and dried.

They are both OK in their different ways.

Stew Ingredient
Posts: 10866
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2005 3:59 am
Location: Menlo Park, California

Re: Israeli vs. Arab Couscous

Postby Steve_in_Exile » Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:02 pm

Thanks, Vinny, but the stuff I had in Algeria 35 years ago looked just like the so called Israeli couscous. I think there has to be more to this story.

Stew Ingredient
User avatar
Posts: 53049
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:35 pm

Re: Israeli vs. Arab Couscous

Postby VinnyD » Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:13 pm

And I have seen stuff that looked like that for sale in Riyadh called maghribiyya, which wikipedia says is anothe word for couscous (literally it means from the west, or the Maghrib, or Morocco). I never cooked it.

The couscous I have had in North Africa was like the stuff you get un a box here, which is what I described above.

It could be that Israeli couscous has spread into the Arab world, sometimes called couscous and sometimes maghribiyya. Which would be somewhat confusing, I imagine.

Return to Israel - Palestine

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest