Turns Out We’ve Been Eating Couscous All Wrong

Photo from Chef Einat Admony’s instagram @chefeinat

Watch out, New Yorkers–Chef Einat Admony, owner of the famous grab-and-go falafel shop Taim, Bar Bolonat, and Balaboosta–is getting ready to introduce New Yorkers to another Israeli classic: couscous. This isn’t just any 10-minute couscous, though. It’s hand rolled and steamed, and involves a lot of labor and specific equipment, including a special seive–a kish kash–for which the restaurant will be named.

Admony, a Tel Aviv native, recently told Grub Street that it’s the couscous she’s been looking for ever since she moved to New York.

Admony explains, “Basically, the reason that you don’t see real couscous is because it’s very labor-intensive…the way you roll it and the way you add water slowly.”

The menu will include different toppings–including her favorite, mafrum, which is ground beef stuffed in potatoes–and plenty of fresh herbs and flavorful condiments. As far as we know, she’ll be the only restauranteur here in New York specializing in this authentic hand rolled style of couscous.

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Here she is at a recent Manhattan JCC book talk for her cookbook Balaboosta.

With the rise in popularity of modern Israeli food, competition can be serious. Even accomplished chefs like Admony have found that it’s increasingly important to make things that New Yorkers have never seen or tasted before. She told Grub Street how things have changed since she first introduced New York City to falafel six years ago: “When I opened Taïm, nobody did this food…Nobody heard about Israeli food when I opened Balaboosta. It just started. There was nothing to compare. Now there is so much competition that you need to keep being relevant nonstop.”

If you’re not in New York City and want to see what hand rolled couscous is all about, here is a basic recipe and some of Einat Admony’s sides to get you started:

Hand-Rolled Couscous from the New York Times

My Hubby’s Hummus from Chef Einat Admony via Eater

Roasted Eggplant with Tahini Sauce and Herb Salad, from Chef Einat Admony via Wall Street Journal

Green Falafel, from Chef Einat Admony via Cooking Channel TV

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