Israeli Couscous


Israeli couscous is made of small, round pearls of pasta. Similar to regular couscous, it resembles a grain but is made of wheat flour. Because of its large surface area, it holds sauce well and is very versatile; Israeli Couscous can go in soup, be baked, served as a pie, or made into a risotto.

While Israeli couscous is trendy among Western gourmets, it is considered children's food in Israel.


Other names: Ben-Gurion's Rice, Ptitim

Physical Description

Grains of Israeli couscous are round and similar to pearls in size and shape. Originally made of hard-wheat flour, there are now versions available which are made from whole-wheat flour and spelt flour.

Colors: light beige

Tasting Notes

Flavors: mild, nutty
Mouthfeel: Chewy
Food complements: Fried onions, Tomatoes, Spinach, Kalamata olives, Tomato paste, Lentils
Wine complements: Est to be paired with a light white wine, Pinot gris, Gewurtzraminer, Or viognier
Substitutes: Rice, Pasta, Quinoa

Selecting and Buying

Buying: Israeli couscous is generally available in dried form in bags, boxes, or jars. It keeps very well in an airtight container and may be stored in this way for months or years.

Preparation and Use

In Israel, this form of couscous is eaten primarily by children, often flavored with tomato paste or fried onions. It is available in "fun shapes" such as stars and hearts, in addition to the more common spherical form. In the United States, Israeli couscous is eaten by adults and is seen as being very trendy. The individual pieces retain their shape well, even after several hours in a sauce or broth. Israeli couscous responds well to re-heating, and the grains do not tend to clump together.

Cleaning: No cleaning is necessary. However, many cooks saute the grain in a small amount of olive oil before boiling in order to bring out its flavor.

Conserving and Storing

Dried couscous should be stored in an airtight container, preferably in a dark place.


History: The history is fascinating: rice was scarce during Israel's ten year (1949-1959) austerity period, so the prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, commissioned the Osem food company to create a rice-substitute, as rice was a staple for many immigrants. For this reason it is often referred to as Ben-Gurion's Rice. The original Israel couscous was indeed shaped like rice, much like orzo, but over time has developed its round shape.


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Blu Gourmet Pearl Couscous is a popular Australian brand and can be found in most Coles and Woolworths stores in the pasta isle. check out for recipes and an in depth list of stockists

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