Contrary to its name, couscous pearls are not couscous. They’re actually something halfway between couscous and pasta.
Also called, “Israeli couscous,” or, in Israel, “ptitim,” it has a slightly chewy texture, and a pleasant nutty flavor.
To prepare couscous pearls, simply simmer the grains in a pot with salted water or vegetable broth (1¼ cup liquid to 1 cup couscous pearls) for about 10 minutes.
Once prepared, you can put it in salads, side dishes, stews, and soups. Israeli children also love to eat it either plain, or with fried onion and tomato paste.
Couscous pearls are also a great alternative to rice in paella, pilaf, or risotto, like this one:
Couscous pearls, or “Israeli couscous” or “ptitim” was created in 1953 during Israel’s austerity period as a wheat-based substitute for rice. Commissioned by the country’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, it was also sometimes called, “Ben-Gurion rice.”
Couscous pearls are a high-fiber food, great for aiding in weight loss. It also has a low glycemic index, making it a great food for diabetics. It’s also a wonderful source or iron and protein.
Store your uncooked couscous pearls in a tightly closed container in the pantry. If moisture is kept out, the maximum storage time for good flavor is 1 year.