Lockdown Lowdown – Couscous

While you and your granny were around in the toilet roll aisle having a punch-up with a tattoo encrusted weightlifter, I was quietly loading up my trolly in the dried goods aisle. Down the far end from the scrum and bloodletting at the pasta, I was at the couscous. There was really no need to stock up as a kilo (2lb) packet costs less than two euro (or $2 for that matter). It can produce enough carbohydrate laden deliciousness to quell the panic in any pandemic fearing hoarder.

Why am I telling you this? I really should keep it to myself. However, there is method to my madness. I’ll come back to that later. For now, you can enjoy a veritable feast of pouring shots as I instruct you in the dark art of making a mind blowing couscous.


  • 300 gms of couscous
  • 200 gms of  green beans
  • 2 tablespoons of good quality olive oil
  • 1 bunch (6-8) spring onions
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of raisins
  • 1 tablespoon of sultanas
  • 1 handful of chopped parsley
  • 2 red chillis chopped


The method for this is firstly to follow the pack instructions. In my case it was to use 160ml of water for each 100 gms of couscous. As I was using 300 gms, I used just under half a litre of water. So, pour the couscous into a big bowl.

You will be sick of the pouring shots by the time we get finished here….

Then pour in the water (just off boiling).

Who would have thought that pouring water would look so interesting?

Cover the bowl with a tea towel? Why a tea towel? I have no idea.

We have loads of those tea towels in red, blue, brown and black.

Leave the tea towel in place while you do the hard work. Chop the green beans into small size pieces. Cook them to al denté. Wash and chop the parsley. Wash and chop the spring onions and the chives. Then comes the fun part (It was fun for me). Pour the ingredients into the bowl, starting with the olive oil.











Stir the whole thing together with a big fork. It will seem like it is never going to mix. Just stick at it. It will.

There is enough in this to act as a side for six hungry diners. So, you could feed 20 people from one sub €2 (2$) pack. The great news is that is is extremely tasty and works really well with fish, chicken, meat or even with big chunky vegetables.

So, next time you are heading into the supermarket with all those (for the American readers insert  “guns you you just bought to fight the virus”) (for European readers insert “long life shopping bags you use”), think about stopping off in the couscous section. While you are all in there, kicking six shades out of each other, I will be two aisles over loading up with toilet paper and pasta.



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  • Dear Conor – you have ended a once-in-a-lifetime Easter break for me with giant laughter at proving your absolute mastery in the art of a ‘pouring shot’ ! Actually a fair few times over !! Oh – couscous et all . . .heavens above it and the rest are firm ‘pantry items’ . . . . rather nice recipe actually . . . .thanks for the laugh . . .

  • I’m with you! I bought two packs of couscous when the rice started disappearing, and my favourite version so far has been made with lamb broth, topped with lamb, ras-al-hanout, chickpeas, garlic, shredded cabbage, sultanas and a small slug of pomegranate molasses to add a sharp zing. The Husband says I can make that one again. And again. And again… I’ll have to try him on your version too; he’ll love the chilli heat.

  • Ah I got a good laugh out of this. Earlier to this whole thing going down, my other half bought 4 kgs of dried chickpeas. So it’s definitely been a good opportunity to use them up. Something that also goes brilliantly with couscous! Great recipe!

  • The salad looks very tasty, but it wouldn’t hurt to be a bit less condescending though… A lot of us have couscous in the pantry on any given day… 😉

      • I understand the frustration. The problem is, I’m not sure the people you’ve described read food blogs, so… 🙂

        Israeli couscous is part of my heritage, so I use it often. If you’re looking for more options using it, check out the following link:

  • Excuse me, I have never been in the supermarket fighting over loo rolls – and already have a pantry fully stocked with couscous, bulgar wheat, Mafoul etc. !!
    Having said that, you are right, couscous can be adapted to make the most delicious side dishes and also main courses depending on what you add to it. The same is true of rice, and Chinese (Asian) noodles. Your specific recipe sounds delicious.

  • Before I stopped going to the grocery store, I let my fingers walk down the internet aisles now, I shopped like you. I tried to figure out what no one else might be adding to their pantry and yes, couscous was plentiful where rice and pasta were not. 😊

  • your pouring shots are fabulous Conor. We really like couscous in this household, so we tried wholemeal stuff recently. omg. it tasted like, and had the texture of grains of sand. i ended up throwing it out to the birds! so we will stick to the plain stuff. still hard to get pasta or rice or even couscous here! lord knows what people are doing with it all. cheers sherry

  • at least toilet paper is back in stock, and i think many groceries are also back on the shelves. phew! it got grim there for a while.

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