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Couscous is staple in northern african cuisine. Just like how rice is for asia and bread is for the west, couscous acts as a neutral flavor to dish. However, most couscous that we eat in the states are all instant. If you want to get the flavor of true couscous, you need to steam them. In order to do that, there is a special couscous pot called the Couscoussier. The Best Couscoussier are made using copper for superior heat conductivity. But modern variation will use stainless steel for durability
What is a Couscoussier?
A Couscoussier is a pot designed specifically to make couscous. It consists of three piece, the base reserivour, the top steamer basket and the lid. As the bottom boil, steam rises steaming the couscous. This makes couscous more fluffy and prevents lump from forming. You can also adjust the flavor of the couscous by flavoring the liquid with aromatic.
How to use a Couscoussier
To use a Couscoussier begin by filling the bottom pot half way with water. If you want to, you can flavor it with aromatics such as herbs and fennel. As that heats up, prepare the couscous.
For a basic couscous, just moisten it with water. However, you can also use chicken stock and saffron. Heat up the infusion and pour it over the couscous. Be sure to mix well to incorporate the flavor.
Put the flavored couscous on the top basket of the Couscoussier. Let it sit uncovered for one hour. Once done, get a big bowl and pour the couscous in. Grab a spoon and spread it out. This breaks up the couscous and let the steam escape. If you skip this step, it will clump up and loose its fluffy texture. Return it to the top pot and steam for 20 more minutes. Add water as necessary.
Repeat the previous step of breaking it up and fluffing it up and steam 20 more minutes. Once done, you can add additional flavoring if you like.
Because a Couscoussier is basically a two tier steamer, you can use it as a steamer. Stuff like vegetables and potato are great things to cook in. Steamed buns or dim sum can be made in it as well. You can even steam fish if you want.
Copper vs Stainless Steel
Traditional Couscoussier uses copper as its construction. It conducts heat fast and boils water faster. However, the tin lining on the Couscoussier will wear down over time. Not only that, they are also expensive compared to the stainless steel model.
Stainless steel is a poor conductor of heat but it last. Theres no tin lining to wear down but if its a poor grade steel, it can rust. Nevertheless, a good model can be more durable than the copper one.
Best Couscoussier and Couscous Pot List
Below, you will find a list of some of the best Couscous pot. There are a few option to choose from. Pick one that best suits you.
COPPER STEAMER POT – Hand hammered solid copper couscous pot (Best Overall)
This hand made copper couscous pot is the best overall for couscous. The perforation is small so that couscous cant fall through. Its copper construction means that it will heat up fast and steam even faster. Best of all, its all handmade. You are getting products from true artisan. There are a few sizes to choose from, be sure to get one that matches your family size.
Couscoussier 6 Liter Moroccan Steamer Pot (Best Buy)
While the Copper Model is nice, its expensive, really expensive. For the average cook, the stainless steel model should do well enough. The stainless steel construction also means that it wont wear down like the tin lining. Plus the plastic handle will stay cool.
A Couscous pot is great if you plan on making fresh couscous. Unlike instant version, these are fluffier and have more options for flavor. The copper models are considered to be the best. But they are expensive and you eventually have to get it retinned. A more affordable alternative is the stainless steel model. It can get the job done its just doesn’t heat up as fast.