“Israeli couscous” (in Hebrew פתיתים אפויים ‘baked flakes’), also called “ptitim”, is a pasta product similar to the Italian orzo. In North America, it is considered as a larger version of couscous and is used in slightly different ways. In Western cooking it is often used as a bed for salmon or chicken dishes, or put into salads. One of its purposes was to provide a rice substitute for Mizrahi Jews, for whom rice was the staple grain. Unlike North African couscous, it is not semolina at all, but rather baked wheat.
Instructions: 1 1/4 cups of water or vegetable broth for every 1 cup of dry grain. Simmer the grains stovetop, covered, for about 10 minutes. The grains fluff up just slightly, and, like barley, they have more of an “al dente” mouth feel when done cooking.
For a basic recipe with a bit more flavor, toast the dried pearls for a minute or two in a bit of butter, vegan margarine, or olive oil before cooking. Saute one small chopped onion in oil. Add 1 c. of Israeli Couscous, stir until browned. Add salt, pepper, chopped parsley, and other spices according to taste. Add 2 c. of boiling water or stock. Cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.