Don't let their name make you think they're one-trick ponies. Rice cookers make just about anything that absorbs hot water during cooking, but do especially well with grains and certain pastas, like couscous. Made from durum wheat, couscous comes in four main varieties: instant, Moroccan, Israeli and Lebanese. Instant and Moroccan are made up of small beads, about twice the size of cornmeal, and cook in heated water -- making them a poor choice for rice cookers. You'd traditionally cook Israeli and Lebanese couscous the same way you'd cook rice -- bring to a boil, cover and steam -- making them a good choice for cooking in rice cookers.
Add the couscous and stock or water to the rice cooker. Use 1 1/4 cups of liquid for every 1 cup of couscous. Add kosher salt to taste, then stir.
Add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil or butter per 1 cup of couscous, or add to taste. Fat improves the texture of couscous and helps prevent the grains from sticking.
Add garnishes, such as sauteed and finely chopped onions, celery and carrots, and stir.
Insert the rice cooker's steamer insert in the rice cooker and add sliced vegetables to it to serve with the couscous. If you're using frozen vegetables, decrease the water for the couscous by 25 percent.
Cover the rice cooker with the lid and turn it on. Simple rice cookers have 1 or 2 settings: Warm and Cook. If you have a rice cooker with a control panel of choices, set it to the simplest setting for cooking rice -- there's no need to program, set timers, enter holding times, type of rice or anything else.
Transfer the couscous to the serving dish when it finishes and fluff it with a fork, or place it in a bowl and stir in fresh herbs, cooked meats or vegetables or other finishing ingredients.
Things You'll Need
Oil or butter
Onions, celery and carrots (optional)
If your rice cooker doesn't have a steamer basket, you can use a steamer insert made for a saucepan if the lid on the cooker fits properly after you insert it.