GI Symbol News with Alan Barclay

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Alan Barclay

Low GI pearl couscous
Blu Gourmet Pearl Couscous (GI 52) now carries the GI Symbol. Unlike traditional couscous, pearl couscous which takes its name from its pearl-like shape and size is often described as a ‘toasted pasta specialty’. Like regular pasta, it is made from hard (durum) wheat and water. But instead of being dried, it is toasted in an open flame oven. It has a rich, nutty flavour and a chewy texture, with a smooth, almost buttery mouth feel. It makes a perfect side dish to meat, poultry, or fish instead of potatoes, rice, or traditional pastas or couscous. It cooks in around 10 minutes by the absorption method – just like rice – and you can also use it in a variety of dishes – just like rice and other pastas.

Where does it come from? Blu Gourmet Pearl Couscous is produced by Osem in Israel. In the US and Canada you will find it marketed as Osem Israeli Couscous or Osem Toasted Pasta and you can even buy it from Amazon. Here in Australia, It is on the shelves in Coles supermarkets and many independent grocers and delis. For those of you who need to count your carbs, ½ cup cooked pearl couscous has around 20 g carbs and a GL of 10.

Product ambassador, chef Gabriel Gate, has developed a number of recipes using pearl couscous. Here’s the one we tried: Gourmet Pearl Couscous Salad with Vegetables and Cashew Nuts and a Sesame Dressing. You’ll find it will serve around 10 people at a barbecue and is a great way to use up leftover vegetables. Serves 6.

250 g (9 oz) pearl couscous,
juice of 1 lemon,
2 tablespoons salt-reduced soy sauce,
½ teaspoon sesame oil,
½ a red chilli, finely sliced,
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil,
about 80 g (3 oz) roasted unsalted cashew nuts,
½ cup coriander leaves,
1 cup cooked corn kernels (canned is fine),
200 g (7 oz) cooked green beans, cut into small pieces,
300 g (10 oz) cooked butternut pumpkin cubes

  • Bring a large volume of salted water to the boil. Stir in the couscous and cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Drain the couscous, place in cold water to cool, then drain again.
  • In a bowl mix together the lemon juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, red chilli, olive oil, cashew nuts and coriander leaves. Add the cold drained couscous and toss gently. Add the vegetables and toss together very gently before serving.

Per serving
Energy: 1640 kJ/ 390 cals; Protein 11 g; Fat 17 g (includes 2.5 g saturated fat and 0 mg cholesterol); Carbs 46 g; Fibre 4 g.

For more recipes, check out the Blu Gourmet Pearl Couscous website

New GI Symbol

For more information about the GI Symbol Program

Dr Alan W Barclay, PhD
CSO, Glycemic Index Foundation (Ltd)
Phone: +61 2 9785 1037
Mob: +61 (0)416 111 046
Fax: +61 2 9785 1037