another bit on the side: fat couscous with harissa and orange dressing

fat couscous (mograbiah) with harissa
and orange dressing
I make no bones about the fact that I am as excited by side dishes as I am by the main event, whether it is vegetables or starch (or both!) This s is very likely to do with the ten years I spent as a somewhat hapless vegetarian, when often the only part of a meal I was prepared to eat were the bits on the side. I am not complaining, mind you. Often these bits on the side were probably the best bit of the entire meal (and I really do love vegetables!)

But i do feel side dishes are often a bit neglected, even by me. It took me years to actually like couscous, but once I was converted, I decided that I would love couscous well - there is no point in being half-hearted about it! Recently I have been making large batches of fat couscous (mograbiah) with salad vegetables and a chilli dressing to go with the Sunday roast, Any leftovers are my lunch for the next few days, and god knows I do love my lunch.

Serves 4
Skill level: Easy

1 tbsp olive oil
1 x small onion, finely chopped
350g fat couscous (mograbiah)
700ml salted boiling water
3 tbsp olive oil
zest and juice of 1 orange (Seville or blood orange if you can get one)
2 tsp harissa paste
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 x red pepper, de-seeded and diced
8 x baby plum or cherry tomatoes, quartered
8 x green olives, sliced
fresh herbs, finely chopped (a mixture of chives, coriander, mint and parsley)


  1. Gently fry the onion in the olive oil and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, when it should begin to soften.
  2. Add the mograbiah couscous and continue to cook on low for 3 to 5 minutes - the couscous should be lightly toasted. (It may also make a popping sound!)
  3. Add the boiling water and salt. Bring back the boil, then simmer on the lowest heat for about 15 to 20 minutes (according to the packet instructions). The mograbiah couscous should be tender but also firm to the bite. Drain and then coat with the dressing (see below).
  4. Make a dressing of olive oil, orange juice and harissa paste. Stir well to combine. Check the seasoning, then dress the couscous.
  5. Add the orange zest, chopped pepper, tomatoes and green olives and mix well to combine.
  6. Sprinkle over the chopped herbs and serve at room temperature.



o cozinheiro este algarve said...

This sounds Hot and citrusy- I am going to put my dreaded glut of Seville oranges to good use here.
I could live on cous cous.It would be my one item of sustenance I would take to the desert island.Have left you a reply about the pantone reference.I think we are part of a new trend?

Karen S Booth said...

FABULOUS FABULOUS list of ingredients, and such a wonderfully exotic meal!
PS: You know you won the Herbs on Saturday book last month, can you send me your address! We, Vanesther and I posted all about your lovely winning recipe!
Karen xxx

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Algarve - you and your wretched glut! I am so jealous. Saw your pantone comment and will reply shortly. Your idea for a pantone-cooking page on Pinterest is genius!!! I love it!

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Karen - thank you so much! I know I won - I cannot tell you how excited and happy it made me. Thought I had sent over details. Winging their way over right now. The book couldn't have come at a more perfect time as I am planning my tiny kitchen garden!