Couscous Casablanca

    1 hour 35 min

    A hearty veggie stew with couscous. Couscous is the staple food of much of North Africa, where it is often served topped with tender, colourful vegetables, drenched in delicious gravy and spiced with a traditional hot chilli sauce called harissa.

    17 people made this

    Serves: 8 

    • 300 g (10½ oz) couscous
    • 150 g (5½ oz) raisins
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • chilli sauce to taste
    • pinch of ground cinnamon
    • 1–2 tbsp orange flower water
    • Vegetable stew
    • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 large onions, chopped
    • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 4 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 tsp chilli powder
    • ½ tsp each ground cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, coriander and ginger
    • 1 can chopped tomatoes, about 400 g
    • 1.5 litres (2¾ pints) vegetable stock, preferably home-made
    • 225 g (8 oz) pumpkin, cut into chunks
    • 1 small sweet potato, cut into chunks
    • 2 celery sticks, sliced
    • 1 carrot, cut into chunks
    • 1 turnip, cut into chunks
    • 100 g (3½ oz) runner or French beans, cut into short lengths
    • 1 courgette, cut into chunks
    • 1 can chickpeas, about 400 g, drained
    • salt and pepper

    Prep:55min  ›  Cook:40min  ›  Ready in:1hr35min 

    1. To make the vegetable stew, heat the oil in a large saucepan or stockpot. Add the onions and half the garlic, and cook until they are slightly softened. Stir in the cumin, chilli powder, cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, coriander and ginger. Cook for a few seconds.
    2. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the vegetable stock, pumpkin, sweet potato, celery, carrot, turnip and runner or French beans. Add seasoning to taste. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15–20 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender.
    3. Stir in the courgette, chickpeas and remaining garlic. Cook for a further 15 minutes or until all the vegetables are quite tender. Traditionally, the vegetables for couscous are cooked until they are falling apart, but for a fresher result, cook only until the vegetables are tender and beginning to soften, but are not mushy.
    4. Meanwhile, place the couscous and raisins in a large bowl. Add 250 ml (81/2 fl oz) boiling water and mix well to moisten all the couscous. Set aside to soak for 5 minutes.
    5. When the vegetables have finished cooking, ladle 500 ml (17 fl oz) of the hot liquid from them over the couscous. Cover and set aside to soak for 10 minutes. Cover the pan of vegetables and remove from the heat.
    6. Meanwhile, make the harissa sauce. Ladle a further 175 ml (6 fl oz) hot cooking liquid from the vegetables into a bowl and stir in the ground cumin, chopped coriander and lemon juice. Add chilli sauce to taste.
    7. To serve, reheat the vegetable stew, if necessary. Fluff up the couscous with a fork, then mound it on a platter or in a large bowl and sprinkle with the cinnamon and orange flower water.
    8. Ladle some of the vegetable stew over the couscous and serve the rest separately. Serve the spicy harissa sauce on the side.

    Some more ideas

    *Follow the seasons when choosing vegetables for the stew: French or runner beans, courgettes and pumpkin can be replaced by leafy greens such as curly kale or Brussels sprouts. Marrow is also a good candidate for well-flavoured dishes – add it instead of the pumpkin and courgette. Broad beans can be used as well as or instead of the chickpeas. *Frozen vegetables are excellent in dishes like this one. Use fresh root vegetables as a base, then add frozen beans, peas and button Brussels sprouts. *Add a large red, yellow or green pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped, with the onions and garlic in step 1.

    Plus points

    *The mix of vegetables in this dish provides a nutritional bonanza as well as a delicious feast. Tomatoes supply vitamin C as well as the anti-cancer nutrient lycopene. Green beans offer fibre, and carrots are justly famous as a source of vitamin A (essential for good night vision) which occurs in them as beta-carotene, also beneficial as an antioxidant in itself. *Couscous is low in fat and high in starchy carbohydrate.

    Each serving provides

    A, C, E, folate, B1, B6, niacin, copper, iron, potassium

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    Reviews in English (3)


    Used different ingredients. This is actually a great dish to use any remaining vegetables in your fridge. The stew had a great depth of flavour and the added harissa sauce enabled you to vary the spiciness of each persons' meal. I used fresh ginger, red onion, potato, carrot, courgette, mushroom, fresh corn, red & green cabbage and chick peas and added the juice of half a lime right at the end. Will definitely make it again. A great, healthy meal.  -  26 Sep 2010


    Altered ingredient amounts. I used red onion, garlic, carrot, sweet potato, brocolli, grated zuchini, bok choi as the veg and in the veg mix used root ginger instead of powered. I didnt have any orange flower water or chick peas so omitted those and it turned out delicious.  -  19 Dec 2009


    Review made within the 'Tweaks' section above.  -  26 Sep 2010