Thursday 16 August 2012

Crazy for Cous Cous!

Greetings all Royal Dawtas of RasTafari Selah!

Eating Ital is not just about being vegetarian, it's about knowing the nutritional value of foods themselves, and what can and cannot be eaten in excess. Though grains like rice and pasta are versatile and downright tasty, they are starchy and give the body excess sugars and carbohydrates - such add weight, spike blood sugar and blood pressure levels, increasing the overall toxicity to the body combined with other unhealthy snacks and meats. Grains also have gluten, which is an allergen to some people.

 (I'll post about the best type of eating habits for Wombman and good substitutes for unhealthy foods - which also promote weightloss - soon!)

If you haven't discovered the best alternative for bread, pasta and rice,  it is time to try cous cous. Cous cous is a pasta too, being rolled yellow granules of semolina and wheat. It is the staple food of North Afrika and the Maghrib diet in Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Algeria. Kus Kus as it is originally written, as Afrikan language has no "C", is a good source of niacin, thiamine, and selenium which is hard to find in foods. Selenium protects the arteries and heart from disease and blockages. It also provides protein for muscles and energy, and potassium for heartbeat and blood pressure.Because it is a "light food" it also helps to reduce weight - and keep that weight off! It's still made from wheat, so it still unfortunately has a high glycemic index like rice - which means it can spike insulin if eaten too much by a diabetic -  but kus kus is still definitely a better option than pasta and rice.

Kus Kus  goes perfectly with veges and salads and peas! It really looks like rice but takes only 8 minutes to prepare! The kind I and I get over here in the West is pre-cooked, so we just have to boil water and let the Kus Kus draw it all in for 5 minutes. Really really easy, and you can make exactly how much you need at the time.
 The proportions are generally 1 cup of Kus Kus to 1 1/2 cups water. 1 cup serves about 3-4 Idren depending on how much every I wants to "nyam." (I "nyam" a lot lol)

My favourite dish is green pigeon peas, Kus Kus, mixed steamed vegetables (usually brocolli, eggplant, chinese cabbage) and plantain. I also usually add a raw salad of beet, tomato and lettuce/cabbage on the side. I also like to change it up with black-eye peas, lentils or channa. Here's one of my meals in the past when I first started to eat kus kus. I usually mix up all my peas with the kus kus first!

Kus Kus "Salad" Recipe:

1 cup kus kus
2 garlic cloves
half an onion, or 1 small onion
1 small piece of ginger
1 pimento pepper
small leaf thyme any other fresh herb or spice
corn niblets

spices: tumeric/saffron, geera/cumin, paprika, sea salt

2 tbs water
1 1/2 cup water or vegetable stock
 a small saucepan 

- Finely dice the herbs and fresh seasonings

- Heat the 2 tbsp. of water, medium heat, in a small to medium saucepan or a skillet with a cover, if you have one.
- Add the freshly diced seasonings and saute for 2 minutes. 
- Sprinkle in the spices - a dash of paprika and cumin and salt. Stir well for another minnute.
- Add the corn, vegetable stock or water and about 3/4 tsp of saffron, and bring to a boil - I add a lot of saffron personally, probably a whole tsp. This is how my saffron water looks, it then turns red. Make sure to dissolve the saffron well.

- When it boils, turn off the heat and stir in the cup of kus kus quickly.

- Cover and remove from heat. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Usually it should look like this (but yours will have corn and seasonings):

- Fluff with a fork, serve it up!

This is how it traditionally is served in Afrika, they don't do much seasoning of the cous cous, generally the stew has all the flavour. The pasta is buried under  a stew of vegetables and maybe a piece of meat here and there:

File:Couscous of Fes.JPG

Try something new, you can still have a filling hot meal, with less fat!

Blessed love!
Sis Ila

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