Making instant couscous–whether wholegrain or refined–can be a tricky business if you automatically add 2 parts liquid to 1 part of dry couscous. More often than not you’ll get mush; package directions vary as to the ratio and often call for less liquid than the 2 to 1 ratio. When you’ve bought the couscous in bulk, you are flying blind and don’t have any guidelines. Your best bet is to start with 1 part couscous to 1 1/4 parts liquid, then stir in a little more boiling liquid if the couscous is still crunchy after it has steeped.
Aside from going easy on the liquid, the best trick I’ve discovered for making fluffy wholegrain couscous is to start by coating the grains with a little oil. For 1 cup of couscous, use 2 to 3 teaspoons of olive oil and stir them together in a 2-quart, heavy saucepan until the grains are evenly coated. Then stir in 1 1/4 cups of boiling water and a generous pinch of salt. Cover and turn off the heat. Let steep for 5 minutes. Fluff up with a fork.
A personal favorite is Kamut couscous, made from wholewheat’s ancient cousin. Kamut and other forms of couscous are available from Sunnyland Mills (see my blog roll).