In Lebanon and the rest of the Levant, couscous is not a staple food, it is considered a food from the Maghreb (the Western side); in the Mashrek (name given to the Levant meaning the Eastern side of the Arab world), there is what can be considered a couscous-type food: It is called maftoul.
Unlike couscous which is made with semolina, maftoul is usually made from wheat and bulgur and is dark in color if made with unbleached wheat and bulgur. I had a Syrian friend, Maha, whose mother, grandmother and aunts would still make it, by hand, in their home in the Horan region.
One can easily find it in Middle-Eastern stores. However, the absolute best maftoul I found recently is available online. It is made by Palestinian women in cooperatives (under the umbrella of a Fair Trade organization), by hand and with organic wheat and bulgur. The taste is absolutely exquisite and a far cry from the commercial maftoul. The grains are not even-shaped (as they are made by hand) and their aroma, even uncooked, is heady.
Maftoul is extremely easy to use; just cook it in boiling broth, on a ratio of 2 parts broth to one part maftoul, for about 15 minutes. It can be incorporated into any dish as any whole-grain or rice.
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