Spiced and Steamed Couscous with Brown Butter
Steam, fluff; steam, fluff. This couscous recipe is time-consuming but worth it.
Author: The Chef
Recipe type: Main dish
- 3 cups medium-grind couscous (not instant)
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 star anise pods
- ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Aleppo-style pepper (for serving)
- Spread out couscous on a rimmed baking sheet. Bring stock, cinnamon stick, garlic, star anise pods, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and 2 tsp. salt to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until salt is dissolved, about 4 minutes. Let cool. Strain stock over couscous; discard solids. Let sit, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and grains begin to swell, 10–15 minutes. Rake and rub couscous with your hands until no clumps remain.
- Pour water into a large pot to come 1" up sides. Bring to a gentle simmer. Transfer couscous to a steamer basket or a colander and set inside pot, making sure couscous is not touching water. The sides of the steamer basket should be in direct contact with the pot; this forces the steam up through the couscous instead of around the sides. (If there’s a gap between the steamer and the pot, fill it in with crumpled foil.) Steam, uncovered, gently tossing occasionally, until steam escapes through couscous, 15–20 minutes.
- Spread out couscous on a clean baking sheet, discarding any grains that may have stuck to steamer basket. Drizzle ¼ cup cold water over couscous to moisten. Let cool slightly, then rub couscous to break up any clumps.
- Pour fresh water into pot to come 1" up sides and steam couscous again, tossing occasionally, until tender and nearly tripled in size, 15–20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium, stirring often, and cook until it foams, then browns, 4–6 minutes.
- Transfer couscous back to rimmed baking sheet and toss with a slotted spoon to remove any remaining clumps. Drizzle with brown butter and toss to coat. Taste couscous and season with more salt if needed. Top with pepper before serving.
- Couscous can be steamed once 4 hours ahead. Store on baking sheet at room temperature. Steam the second time just before serving.