Orange Scented Couscous

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orange scented couscous


Behind the scenes Orange-Scented Couscous

I  love the flavor the orange juice provided in this simple Orange-Scented Couscous.  The subtle orange flavor really complimented the spicy Tandoori Chicken and Roasted Indian Spiced Cauliflower that I served with it.

With just a few embellishments, we can turn mediocre into DELISH 

What Exactly is Couscous?

Couscous is made up of tiny granules of durum wheat (semolina). Traditionally the semolina was sprinkled with water and rolled with the hands to form small pellets, sprinkled with dry flour to keep them separate, and then sieved. Any pellets which are too small to be finished granules of couscous would fall through the sieve to be done again. This process continued until all the semolina had been formed into tiny granules of couscous. The process was very labor-intensive, but women would gather together and make it a days work (I’m sure with a little gossip and chatter to go along with).

Cooking couscous was also a process. Properly cooked couscous is light and fluffy, not gummy or gritty and it would be cooked in a steamer where the base, a tall metal pot shaped rather like an oil jar, was used to cook the meat and vegetables as a stew. On top of the base, the steamer would sit, and that’s where the couscous would be cooked, absorbing the flavors from the stew. The lid to the steamer had holes around its edge so the steam could escape. It was a long process.

Instant Couscous

The couscous that is sold in most supermarkets today has been pre-steamed and dried, the package directions usually instruct to add  1 1/2 cups of boiling water or stock and butter to each cup of couscous and to cover tightly for 5 minutes. The couscous swells and within a few minutes, it is ready to fluff with a fork and serve. It’s one of the easiest sides to make, but it can also be rather boring. That’s why I like to impart a bit of flavor into it.

It’s not getting all that delicious steam anymore.

This recipe for Orange Scented CousCous is simple to make, and great to serve as a side. With just a few embellishments, we can turn mediocre into DELISH!


orange scented couscous


Orange Scented Couscous


  • 1 cup couscous (I used tri-color for interest, but use regular, whole wheat, whatever)
  • 3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (if you don't like cilantro, omit or use parsley)
  • Salt, to taste


Step 1

In a small saucepan with a tight fitting lid, combine the orange juice, water, ginger, olive oil and a pinch of salt. Heat until just boiling. When boiling, add the couscous, turn off the heat and cover with the lid. Leave undisturbed for 5 minutes. Open and add the onions, pine nuts and cilantro. Fluff together with a fork. Taste and adjust seasonings.



Orange Scented Couscous with Tandoori Chicken and Roasted Indian Spiced Cauliflower


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Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.
  • Calories
  • Fat
    4g (1g Sat, 2g Mono, 1g Poly)
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrate
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium

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