A Moroccan Treat: From a salad staple to a base for gravies, couscous is a versatile ingredient

  • Meenakshi Iyer, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Nov 05, 2015 16:35 IST
(Vidya Subramanian/ Hindustan Times)

Over the years, couscous has become a popular alternative to rice and pasta as it pairs well with vegetables and meat. A fairly new ingredient in the Indian pantries, couscous has gained popularity for its fluffy texture and the many health benefits like increased metabolism and weight loss. So, we got an expert chef to rustle up a Sicilian seafood delicacy and a refreshing take on it from our reader.

Couscous alla Trapanese

Recipe by: Chef Matteo Arvonio, Speciality Chef at Mezzo Mezzo, JW Marriott, Juhu

Preparation time: 40 minutes Serves: Four


Couscous: 300g

Shallots: 10

Celery sticks: Two

Carrot: One

Bay leaves: Two

Cherry tomatoes (halved): 12

Tomato paste: 1 tbsp

Garlic: 1 tsp

Parsley: 1 tsp

Basil leaves: Three to four

Red chili (chopped): 1 tsp

Extra virgin olive oil: 2 tbsp

White wine: 1 glass

Mussels/clams: Four to five

Prawns: 600g

Cuttlefish/calamari: 400g

Prepared by Chef Matteo at Mezo Mezo J W Marriott, Juhu (Vidya Subramanianz Hindustan Times)


For the mussels/clams

* Clean the mussels, shell the prawns and keep them aside for the stock.

* Put some extra virgin oil in a pot and add some chopped garlic, parsley and a little chilli.

* Add the mussels/clams to it. Stir them and add a glass of white wine, a spoon of tomato paste, and cover the pot.

* Cook for a few minutes and then keep it aside.

For the prawn

* Shell and keep the prawns aside.

* Put some extra virgin olive oil in a pot along with the sliced shallot, celery, carrot, bay leaves and let it stew for few minutes.

* Add the shell of the prawns and roast well.

* Then, add a glass of white wine, a spoon of tomato paste and cold water to the mixture.

* Bring to the boil and simmer for about two hours till there is a rich prawn flavour to it.

* Strain and add salt and pepper to taste.

For the sauce

* Add some extra virgin olive oil, chopped garlic, parsley, basil and chili (to taste) in a pan.

* Add the sliced prawns and the calamari, halved cherry tomatoes and a pinch of salt.

* Then, add the the prawn stock and mussels/clams with their stock. Boil it for about 10 minutes, till the seafood is well-cooked and soft.

* Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the couscous

* Boil partially pre-cooked couscous for a few minutes in vegetable stock or some water.

* Add a little stock of the seafood sauce and finish the couscous with a little extra virgin olive oil.

* Add some salt and pepper to taste.

* Pour the seafood sauce over the couscous, garnish it with seafood and serve while hot.


Winning reader recipe: Couscous shrimp pattice

Recipe by: Shradha Nambiar

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Serves: Two


Couscous: 2 cups

Hot water: 3 cups

Shrimp (peeled and deveined): 100g

Green chilli (finely chopped): 1

Lime juice: ½ tsp

Cajun powder: ½ tsp

Ginger garlic paste:¼ tsp

Coriander (finely chopped): 1 tsp

Pepper: To taste

Salt: To taste

For the covering

Bread crumbs: 1 cup

Egg: 1


* Add couscous to a glass bowl. Pour three cups of hot water, cover with a lid and place aside.

* Grind the shrimp with green chilli, ginger garlic paste, lime juice, cajun powder, pepper and salt.

* Add the coriander to the ground shrimp and mix well.

* Add the ground shrimp to the couscous and blend well.

* Make patties, let them rest on a plate for five minutes.

* To fry, heat the oil. Cover the patty with bread crumbs, dip it in the egg mix and coat it with bread crumbs again.

* Repeat this process with the rest of the patties.

* Deep fry the patties till light brown in colour. Serve hot with mint chutney.

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