I can’t tell which one I like best, Tapioca or Cuscuz de Milho (Corn Couscous is a gluten-free Brazilian dish from the Northeastern region made with coconut flakes).
They were both staples in my house growing up in Goiania, Brazil. I make them for my family often. When family comes to visit and ask what I would like from Brazil, my answer used to be tapioca and cuscuz flakes, but now Tapioca starch has become a go to gluten free flour and we can find it in most stores. I am not able to find the coconut flakes here in Maine but after playing with different corn products like hominy; fine, medium, white and yellow coarse cornmeal; and grits; I settled on yellow grits.
Soaking and steaming corn grits is a method that brings me very close to the taste and texture of cuscuz and I am able to use local grits we love.
For 4 servings of cereal, soak 1.5 cups of cornmeal in 3 cups of water overnight or for 24 hours in the fridge. If you forget there it will be ok longer.
When ready to cook, strain the soaked grits, sprinkle with some salt and a tablespoon of Tapioca starch (optional — the starch makes the couscous more compact)
There a several ways to steam the yellow corn grits if you do not have a ” cuscuzeira” ( Couscous pot)
Bellow is a video of cuscuz cooked in deep plate wrapped with a clean cloth. The couscous mixture must be facing downwards while it simmers.
Another way is to use a steam basket (photo above) or a metal colander/basket lined with fabric over a pot of water. (See photo bellow). Stem for 30 minutes or until cooked. It varies on the grains and grain age, so check once in a while. I have cooked in less time inside my pressure cooker. If you use a pressure cooker, check manufacture instructions, your pressure cooker may come with a steam basket. I got my basket in the picture above used for a dollar at a second hand store and I just insert in my pot. My mom told me she got us a Couscous pot she will bring next time she visits. How fun!
Another variation is to stir fresh or frozen corn to the soaked grits and cook as above.
We enjoy as part of a savory breakfast for dinner. With lots of butter or an egg on top!