Sweet Couscous with Fresh Pomegranates | CUESA

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Sweet Couscous with Fresh Pomegranates


Paula Wolfert, author of Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco and numerous other cookbooks

Serves 6 to 8


Several very large pomegranates
1 orange, juiced
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon superfine baker’s sugar
1 pinch freshly ground pepper
1 pinch ground dried orange peel, optional
1 tablespoon orange flower water
1 cup fine-grain packaged couscous
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoon crushed, peeled pistachios
Sprinkle ground Ceylon cinnamon
Sprinkle confectioner’s sugar & salt


  1. Roll the pomegranates around on you kitchen counter to soften them, and then break up in a bowl of water to keep the juice from spurting. Drain, place skin side up in the bowl, and give each section a good bang with the back of a heavy knife to loosen the seeds.

  2. Combine the pomegranate seeds with the orange juice, orange flower water, pepper, dried orange peel, if using any, and ¼ cup super fine sugar. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  3. Put the couscous in a fine sieve and rinse under cold running water. Turn the bowl; let soak for a minute or two, break up any clumps, and let stand until ready to steam.  Meanwhile, fill the bottom of a couscous pot with water and bring to a boil. If you don’t own a couscous pot, a deep kettle and a snug-fitting vegetable steamer or colander will do. (If the latter doesn’t fit perfectly, use padding: Dampen a cheesecloth, twist it into a strip the length of the circumference of the kettle top, and tuck it between the two parts, to make sure the steam rises only through the perforated holes.) Lightly oil the inside of the steamer. Don’t let the perforated top touch the boiling water below.
  4. Break up the couscous with a fork. Pile into the perforated container, cover tightly, and steam for 30 minutes.  Dump the couscous onto a tray. Sprinkle with ½ cup lightly salted cold water and rake the grains to keep them separate. Gradually add another ½ cup of water while raking the couscous. When the couscous has absorbed all of the water, toss with the olive oil and fluff with a long whisk. Pile the couscous back into the container and repeat the steaming for 30 minutes.
  5. Dump the couscous back onto a tray, gradually work in another cup of cold water, and rake the grains to keep them separate. Gently mix in the remaining one tablespoon superfine sugar. Loosely cover with a damp towel and let stand in a cool place until ready to serve.
  6. Fluff up the couscous and add the melted butter and prepared pomegranate seeds with their soaking liquid. Gently fluff the couscous again; pile in a mound, decorate with lines of cinnamon and pistachios, dusting the top with confectioner sugar. Serve and enjoy!



CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »