Savoury couscous is all good and nice, but in Egypt couscous shines as a sweet, creamy porridge-like breakfast dish. As a child, Egyptian-style breakfast couscous was a weekend treat I used to look forward to all week!
Growing up in an Egyptian family, I was introduced to couscous as a sweet, creamy, breakfast dish my grandfather made for us when we visited every summer. In Egypt, people rarely eat savoury couscous dishes. Egyptians like their couscous laden with heavy cream, ghee or butter, lots of sugar, nuts and dried fruit. It’s a flavour bomb and I highly recommend it as an alternative to granola or oatmeal. I would go so far as saying that Egyptian breakfast couscous is better than oatmeal since it doesn’t become mushy and maintains a nice texture. I’m not a huge fan of oatmeal porridge.
With the advent of instant/quick-cook couscous, this dish has become extremely easy to make. I recommend using instant couscous; traditional couscous is a bit time consuming and you need a proper steamer for it called a couscoussier, and you have to steam it three times. It’s just very complicated. The instant stuff works just as well.
This recipe is a lighter version of the original Egyptian breakfast couscous. I used 2% milk instead of heavy cream, stevia instead of sugar and a little olive oil instead of ghee or butter. The flavour was great without being too heavy. I do eat desserts on weekends, but on weekdays I minimise the amount of sugar and animal fats I eat. I also added some vanilla and cinnamon; feel free to add any flavours you like. I personally recommend vanilla, cinnamon, and almond flavours.
- One cup of instant or quick-cook couscous.
- One cup of boiling water
- Half a cup of 2% milk or half and half cream
- One teaspoon vanilla extract and a pinch of cinnamon
- Stevia sweetener, sugar, maple syrup or honey according to taste
- One tablespoon each of raisins and dried sour cherries, or dried apricots or cranberries (whatever you have and like)
- Two tablespoons almond slices
- One tablespoon olive oil
- Half a teaspoon salt
- In a saucepan, pour the boiling water on top of the quick-cook couscous and cover. Let sit for at least five minutes or according to the package instructions.
- After five minutes, fluff the couscous with a fork. The grains should have expanded and it should be enough for two servings. Add the olive oil and salt.
- Heat the milk or cream in a small saucepan, add the flavourings such as vanilla
- Dissolve the sweetener you are using in the milk or cream
- Spoon the couscous into bowls, pour some of the milk or cream mixture on top.
- You can use the dried fruit in one of two ways: either soak them while the couscous cooks in hot water for about 5 minutes to soften them. Or add them directly to the couscous (that’s the lazy way I sometimes use)
- Top with slivered almonds or other nuts according to taste. Enjoy!
Have you ever had sweet couscous before? What flavourings or toppings do you like to add to it? Let me know in the comments! For other breakfast recipes, check out:
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