Q: I have always thought that it is impossible to reheat couscous. I’ve had numerous people tell me that it is possible. Is that the case? How can you reheat couscous the most effectively?
A: Reheating couscous is common, but not all methods work equally well. Cooked couscous can maintain heat for several hours, even though it starts cold. A better question to ask is if you can reheat couscous without changing its texture or appearance. It is possible to reheat couscous without impacting its quality, texture, and appearance, provided you have a suitable method of doing so.
There are a few different options how to reheat couscous:
The Microwave Method
This is a very popular option, as many people have access to microwaves in their homes. The microwave oven can be used to reheat couscous. This method works best when the couscous is kept moist by adding a bit of liquid and covering it tightly during heating. The couscous will soften up in the microwave but not absorb too much water. One option is to use chicken broth instead of water for extra flavor.
The microwave method requires that you place the couscous in a microwave-safe dish. Place the couscous in the dish and cover it thoroughly with either plastic wrap or another microwave-safe covering. Heat it for about three minutes, then check it to see if it has softened fully. Depending on how mushy or soft you want the couscous, heat it for another minute or so. If you want to, you can stir the couscous every 30 seconds as per cooking instructions.
The Boiling Water Method
Another method of reheating couscous is putting it back in boiling water and heating through. Place your cold, cooked couscous into a pot on the stove with fresh, hot water or broth and bring it up to a boil.
Pour the cereal into a colander as soon as the liquid boils so that you won’t end up with soggy pieces of pasta at the bottom of your container. Allow it to drain and then serve.
You can use either chicken or beef broth instead of water for added flavor; make sure the broth is hot when adding it to the couscous. Add a small dab of butter or oil for flavor, if desired. Put the water or broth in a large container to contain the cooked couscous. Add the couscous, cover, and heat for one or two minutes until it reaches your desired temperature. Keep the couscous covered throughout the process.
The Oven Method
The oven method is the best way to reheat couscous because of its low risk of affecting couscous. Cooked couscous can be reheated in the oven without impacting its quality, texture, and appearance. The oven keeps it from getting soggy. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the desired amount of cooked couscous on a baking sheet and place it in the oven for about fifteen minutes.
The Stovetop Method
The stovetop method is another good way to reheat couscous. Prepare the cooked couscous and put it in a pan on the stove. Add a bit of water or broth and heat it thoroughly. Heat the water slowly and keep stirring the couscous to avoid burning it or making it too dry.
You can also heat couscous in a pan directly on the stovetop. There are two ways to do this: with oil and without oil.
a) The Oil Method
Heat up a small amount of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add cooked couscous to the oil and mix it in quickly. Heat up until all of the couscous is hot.
b) The No Oil Method
Another option is to heat couscous on the stovetop without adding any oil. This method works best when you stir the couscous often as it heats up.
The physical characteristics of cooked couscous can be affected by the method used for reheating. The microwave method works best for heating couscous without making it mushy. The oven method makes the couscous warm enough but prevents burning or overcooking. You can opt to use the stovetop method; remember to stir often to avoid heat damage.
Please note that reheating couscous can affect its final texture and appearance. Usually, this happens when you use the microwave method, making couscous softer and stickier. You can avoid mushy or sticky couscous by using either the boiling water method or the oven method instead of microwaving it. Either way, avoid eating cold couscous. Use any of these methods to reheat it.