A course common in all North-African coast cuisines is Couscous, which is made of "roughly-grind Semolina" lightly cooked or steamed with a bit of water and salt;
Very often, a vegetable based stew is poured upon the Couscous and then served.

A more accurate description of "roughly-grind Semolina" would be in my opinion:

Level 2 grinding of Wheat grains which is named:

  • Samid(un) [سميد] in Arabic
  • Solet [סולת] in Hebrew
  • Both Arabic and Hebrew terms brings Google translate English translation as simply Semolina
  • In Berber/Amazigh it is called SOMETHING; as of December 2019, Berber/Amazigh isn't supported in Google translate; it's a bit ironic because Berber translation should appear first in the above list

If one accepts the grinding level description in its full form:

  • Level 1 is Bulgur; Bou[rgh]oul (برغل in Arabic)
  • Level 2 is SOMETHING (in Berber)
  • Level 3 is Semolina ("thinly-grind Semolina")
  • Level 4 is Flour

The question remains: What is the standardized name for the level 2 product?

  • If you can read Tamazight, their word for this flour can probably be found here: "ⵙⴽⵙⵓ"
    – Juhasz
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 0:57
  • @Juhasz nice but sadly not only I don't know to read it; Google translate didn't translate it to English for me.
    – user79730
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 1:06
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Couscous
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 8:00
  • 2
    You can get 'fine', 'medium' and 'course' bulgar if you shop around in the US. It might be that the problem is 'bulgar' and 'semolina', as used in the US (or English in general) are considered wider categories than what you're used to, and it's squeezed out the need for a category in between them
    – Joe
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 15:36
  • 3
    Another point that may be worth noting, but is somewhat incidental to this question: in English (at least American English), bulgur typically refers to cracked wheat that has been parboiled. If you buy cracked wheat and try to use it in a recipe calling for "bulgur," you'll end up with something inedibly hard (recipes using bulgur typically only call for soaking, or very quick cooking, whereas raw cracked wheat takes a long time to soften).
    – Juhasz
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 22:26

4 Answers 4


The question seems to confuse some terminology. Let's first clear some things up.

  • Bulgur is NOT a grind size. It is a process. "Bulgur wheat" (in English anyway) refers to whole or cracked or crushed wheat berries that are parboiled and then dried. There are various sizes of bulgur sometimes available (e.g., coarse, medium, fine, etc., or sometimes numbers for different sizes).
  • Couscous is a pasta, not a flour grain size. Couscous is typically made from semolina flour that is shaped into small pieces of pasta. If the question is what size flour grind is used to make couscous, then the answer is typically a semolina-size grind.

Okay, now that that's clear, let's address the other issue in the question about size of grind for wheat flour.

  • Raw whole wheat berries are the largest pieces of wheat and are simply called wheat berries in English. They refer to the raw, unmilled berries with bran and germ intact, only with the (inedible) husk removed. They can sometimes be referred to as groats too, though that word is often reserved in English for whole oats. But technically it means any whole, unmilled grain, including wheat berries.
  • The next stage down in English is referred to as cracked wheat (or sometimes cracked wheat berries). This involves either cutting or crushing the wheat berries, but leaving large particles (which I suppose could be the size of bulgur or couscous). Cracked wheat is sometimes labeled coarse, medium, or fine, etc. or sometimes with numbers to indicate the size. Sometimes these can be referred to as cut groats too (sometimes also indicated with coarse, fine, etc.), though I don't know that name is commonly used with wheat.

It's important to note that names of the finer grinds of wheat beyond "fine cracked wheat" are dependent on the type of wheat and the extraction level (i.e., whether the bran and germ remain in the flour or not). While semolina typically refers to a somewhat coarsely ground flour (usually made specifically with durum wheat), it does not typically contain the bran and germ that wheat berries and cracked wheat retain. If you want a coarsely ground flour that contains the same ingredients as whole wheat berries, you might need to search for a coarsely ground wholemeal or whole-wheat or graham flour (each of which has somewhat different connotations in terms of how it is processed, the extraction rate, etc.).

Once we're in the range of normal flours (and out of the cracked wheat size), the names vary for different grind sizes and are pretty inconsistent. For example, one flour company may use the term stone ground to specifically indicate a coarser grind, but another company may use the term differently. Some mills allow a wider range of particle size for a given flour, but others may have a more narrow specification.


I speak European languages only, and have shopped in several European countries (although, I admit, in some of my vacation destinations, I didn't make it to the grains aisle).

In these languages and countries, wheat ground to the size you are asking for is used for one thing only: to cook couscous. It is never encountered in any other context. Also, the dish "couscous" is perceived to be just this ground wheat cooked in salted water, nothing more fancy to it. Therefore, the raw ground wheat also bears the name "couscous". It is the same logic as with spaghetti: both the raw, dried material and the cooked dish have the same name.

So, there is no difference in language, at least not any difference that a person on the street or a cook would recognize. Wheat ground to couscous-size is couscous, period. There is a tiny chance that millers will have a special name for it used internally within their industry, but if this is so, the word won't be of any use for you if you don't converse with millers. Certainly not if you are talking to cooks who make couscous or to shop owners who sell the raw couscous. So, just go with "couscous" and people will understand you.

  • Hello; I understand the logic pattern of the answer but I think I differ on the millers terminology conclusion a bit --- we could speak of the same 4 (very practical) milling levels in regards to dried coconut meat, dried almonds, dried date fruits, dried green bananas and you name it --- I believe there should be standardization of cooking levels shared between millers and cookers (is that the term?) as well.
    – user79730
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 10:27
  • 2
    Languages are funny beasts, they never accept standardization. Sometimes, jargon from one domain makes it to another, but in this case, it has not. Also, I haven't seen consinstent names for different grades of milling in the other products you mentioned - in fact, I have never even seen milled dried date fruits or dried green bananas. It can be that these names exist in a culture where these ingredients are commonly used and cooks care for the milling grade they are putting in their dish, but they don't exist in English.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 10:44
  • 3
    I always understood cous-cous to be a form of pasta rather than simply ground grain, in that semolina is dampened and rolled into pellets, the pellets are what I know as cous-cous.
    – Spagirl
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 15:54
  • @Spagirl now that you mention it, I think I have heard that too. I guess I just didn't make the connection and went with the assumption from the question that couscous is ground wheat only. You should write your own answer based on that, and I might have to delete mine.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 16:07
  • 1
    @JohnDoea I recognize some of your examples and I'm happy to trust you that the others are correct. English also has created different words for the milling grades of wheat it is interested in: flour vs. semolina. It has not made a specific one for couscous-sized pieces, because it didn't need it, and if millers needed it and created it, it has not caught on among cooks. Also, see what Spagirl said: apparently couscous is not ground wheat at all, but a pasta formed from smaller semolina.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 17:13

In Brazil we use corn flakes to cook Couscouz. Maybe what you are looking for is Semolina Flakes or whole grain spelt semolina?

  • 1
    You use corn flakes, not corn meal?
    – Juhasz
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 0:52
  • In the package says "flocos de milho" witch can be translated to flakes. I use corn meal to cook polenta, though
    – Croves
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 13:14

In india it is called Sooji or Rava

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