Giants in my dish! Simple Jerusalem couscous in the rice cooker

Have you seen couscous the size of peas?! After a double take at the grocery store, I left with a bag of Jerusalem couscous.

dry couscous

giant couscous!

With no instructions on the package, I hoped that my rice cooker cookbook* could help me out. Jerusalem couscous was not in the index, though. The only other couscous, besides the regular seed size, was Israeli couscous°. The picture looked like mine so I figured the difference was only in name.

The recipe was a new experience. The first step was heating oil in the rice cooker bowl to cook onions¤! After ten minutes on the regular setting and cold oil, switching to quick cook sped things up. It was odd to stand over a rice cooker bowl stirring onions but it worked.

Adding liquid and closing the lid returned the cooking to the rice cooker. About 30 minutes later, the couscous had doubled in size and the dish smelled like toasted pasta. It was pretty chewy though so I wanted to try again.

The next attempts included the salaryman or quick cook setting, fiddling with the quantity and type of liquid, and finally using only liquid. At last, softer couscous with subtle flavour was achieved and that recipe is next.

* The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann, 2003, Harvard Common Press.

° The recipe I tried was Israeli Couscous with orange on p. 158, except I skipped the orange and used regular onion instead of shallots.

¤ After trying the cookbook recipe a few more times (again without orange and not always using shallots), I realized one trick to know when the oil was hot enough. Turn the cooker on using quick cook, add oil to the bowl and the onion and close the lid. Once steam is coming from the vent, the oil should be hot enough and you can time the onion cooking. Watching for steam can also be used when toasting the couscous.

cooked Jerusalem couscous



  • 1 cup Jerusalem couscous
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1 tablespoon freeze-dried parsley
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Put the couscous in the rice cooker bowl.
  2. Add the chicken broth.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Stir with a wooden spoon or the rice scoop to combine.
  5. Set the rice cooker to the Plain Rice setting and press start.
  6. When the rice cooker switches to Keep Warm, let the couscous sit for about ten minutes before opening the lid.
  7. Stir and serve.

We enjoyed this couscous with salmon tomato pasta sauce! Despite the extra chewiness, it was delicious cold the next day.

Have you tried Jerusalem couscous or something other than rice in a rice cooker?

11 thoughts on “Giants in my dish! Simple Jerusalem couscous in the rice cooker

  1. I am still too much in awe of my rice cooker (or maybe of it’s price) that I am very much sticking to cooking only rice in it!

    The manual has one recipe for mixed rice and I know there are more recipes on the website with different ingredients, but I haven’t really tried any out yet. Maybe I should get a rice cooker book and experiment a bit more…

    These giant couscous looks interesting, I don’t think I’ve seen them here in the supermarket but there are a lot of Middle Eastern shops in London, so am sure I could find it somewhere there.

    • Ha ha ha! Yes, I was telling hubby about you and your rice cooker relationship today. My first rice cooker was $20 and worked well. Our current one was a gift but it was around $300 and the bowl is wearing out but I think that’s normal. It’s five years old and under heavy usage so at some point, I think the coating starts to wear. I think the bowls that do better are the copper ones, but they are uber pricey from what I’ve seen. Be brave! I’ll support you! 😀 Just teasing. By the way, if you see the giant couscous and give them a try (in a pot), let me know what you think! They have a very subtle flavor and baby loves to pick them up to eat them one by one. 😀

      • Ah, baby practising chopsticks already ;-)…

        I am considering getting a spare bowl for the rice cooker, also just because there is only one Zojirushi rice cooker supplier in the UK. On the other hand…I have also already been eying up the fancy induction ones at the Korean supermarket…but they are even more expensive!

        • Not quite. 😀 We’ll wait until baby is around 3. We already bought two sets of hashi though! One is a really simple pair from Muji, of course. The other is my favorite – shinkansen hashi! I saw the same style a couple of years ago and had wished that I had bought them for myself. Hitoshi tracked them down for baby earlier this year.

          A spare bowl, eh? 😀 One for rice and one for “other”? tee hee hee! I can’t help teasing you. 😀 Oooooo… I’ve heard about the induction ones but do they really make a better pot of rice??

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