Bulgur and Couscous: What’s the Difference?

Similar in appearance, from nutty sweet flavour, used as a basic ingredient in very similar recipes: bulgur and couscous can be easily confused but they are two different preparations. Where is the difference?

Bulgur and couscous: different origins but the same millenary tradition

A first difference lies in the region of origin: bulgur is native to Middle East, where it was already appreciated by Babylonians, Hittites and Jews in ancient times. Couscous, on the other hand, has origins in the area betweensub saharan africa not maghrebian cost, where it was consumed by nomadic Berbers. Nowadays it is widely spread in many Mediterranean countries. Also in Italy, especially in Sicily and Sardinia, couscous has become part of the local culinary tradition.

A refined manufacturing process

What differentiates bulgur and couscous is also their manufacturing process. Bulgur is made from whole grains of sprouted wheat which are steamed, dried and minced. Couscous requires a slower manufacturing process, so much so that originally African women spent days busy preparing it. Couscous is produced starting from semolinai.e. the coarsely ground durum wheat. He wets it and then works it by hand creating balls. These are then mixed with other dry semolina, after which they are sieved: the too small balls that emerge are mixed again with dry semolina and worked again by hand until they reach the right size. At that point, they are steamed and then dried.

Properties and nutritional values

Being made with whole grains, bulgur retains the bran and is therefore rich in fiber, making it particularly suitable for those with intestinal problems. It is also very rich in B vitamins, potassium, ferro e of phosphorus. On the other hand, it is fat-free and very filling, so it is suitable for those who pay attention to their figure. It has anti-inflammatory properties, helps prevent diabetes, metabolic syndrome and asthma in children. Containing gluten, it is not suitable for those suffering from celiac disease. Couscous is also a healthy and nutritious food. Contains carbohydrates complex, protein, B vitamins e mineral salts. Couscous doesn’t contain cholesterol, so it’s great for our cardiovascular system.

Despite their differences, bulgur and couscous are foods suitable for any meal of the day, from breakfast where they can be used for sweet recipes, to lunch and dinner where they are excellent mixed with other ingredients, such as fish, stewed meat or cooked or raw vegetables.

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