National Couscous Day Date in the current year: August 5, 2024

National Couscous Day National Couscous Day is observed annually on August 5. It celebrates a staple food of the Maghreb region (Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, Libya, and Tunisia) and the many dishes that can be made using it.

The term “couscous” refers to both small granules made from rolled semolina and dishes made from them. Although couscous is often thought to be a grain, it is actually closer to pasta. The origins of couscous are unclear, but there is evidence that it has existed for millennia. The word couscous probably has a Berber origin.

Couscous originated in Northwest Africa, from where it eventually spread to other regions such as the Levant and the Iberian Peninsula. It was integrated into European cuisine in the early 20th century via French colonies in North Africa. In 2020, couscous was added to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity; it had been jointly submitted by Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.

As we’ve already mentioned above, couscous is made from semolina (coarse durum wheat middlings). The semolina is sprinkled with water to make it stick better and rolled into small granules about 2 mm in diameter. The granules are then sprinkled with dry flour to keep them from sticking to one another, sieved to separate undersized granules, and left to dry. Couscous used to be made manually, which was a very labor intensive process, but today its production is largely mechanized.

Couscous is traditionally cooked in a special steamer called a kiskas (or couscoussier in French). However, most of the commercially produced couscous that is sold in the West is already pre-steamed and then dried. All you need to do to prepare it is pour some boiling water or stock over the couscous (usually 1.5-2 measures of liquid per 1 measure of couscous), cover it with a lid, and leave for about 5 minutes. When prepared correctly, couscous is light and fluffy.

Due to its neutral taste couscous can be used to prepare a wide variety of dishes. It can be eaten hot and cold, and served as the main course, side dish, or dessert. In the Maghreb region, couscous is usually served with a meat and vegetable stew on top. Couscous also pairs well with legumes (for example, chickpeas) and seafood (fish and seafood couscous is a Tunisian specialty). When served as a dessert, couscous is usually sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon and almonds.

National Couscous Day has been celebrated every August 5 since 2020. It was created by The Branded Food Group Limited to raise awareness of couscous as a delicious, versatile, and easy and quick to prepare food. The best way to celebrate the holiday is, of course, to eat some couscous.

You can go out to a restaurant that serves couscous dishes or cook it at home; if you already eat couscous regularly, National Couscous Day is the perfect occasion to experiment with new recipes and flavors. And don’t forget to snap a photo of your couscous dish and share it on social media with the hashtag #NationalCouscousDay to spread the word about the holiday.

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National Couscous Day, food days, unofficial holidays, observances in the United States, Maghreb cuisine, couscous