Serves: 6 people

Preparation: 20 minutes

Cooking Time:  1 hour 40 mins

Couscous is a staple in most Maghreb cuisines. It is known as the national dish in Tunisia – Tunisian couscous sauce is always red, because of the tomato or tomato sauce that is used . This is one of the countless variations of a delicious and versatile dish. It is thought that the original name of couscous could have come from the Arabic word kaskasa, which means “to pound in small pieces” or from the Berber word seksu, which means “rounded” or “well rolled“.

Recipe adapted from


  • 1kg lamb diced off the bone, cut in large pieces
  • 2 lb couscous fine semolina (or medium)
  • 2 onions , finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic , pressed
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons harissa
  • 2 tablespoons ground caraway
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 4 turnips , cut in half
  • 6 medium carrots , peeled
  • 4 zucchini , peeled lengthwise, alternately leaving a layer of skin
  • 6 small potatoes , peeled
  • 10 oz. chickpeas (canned)
  • 4 green hot peppers , fried in oil (optional)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Pour ½ cup of oil into a large pan. Fry the onion over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, tomato paste and harissa and continue frying for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the caraway, coriander, and chili powder. Mix and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the lamb meat and mix well so that the pieces are covered with the sauce. Cook for 5 minutes stirring regularly.
  5. Cover with water. Add the turnips and carrots, and cook on low/medium heat for 45 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the couscous semolina as indicated on the package, with boiling water, salt, and oil.
  7. After 45 minutes, add the zucchini, potatoes and chickpeas.
  8. Cook for at least another 30 to 40 minutes over low/medium heat. Monitor the cooking of the vegetables. If some vegetables are cooked before the meat, remove them from the pan and place them on a serving platter. Proceed in the same way with all the vegetables to prevent them from cooking too much.
  9. 10 minutes before the end of cooking, get a few ladles of broth (one at a time) and wet the couscous semolina. Mix the semolina well after each ladle until it get moistened enough.
  10. Arrange the semolina in a tajine dish. Decorate the dish with the vegetables and the meat all around. Garnish with fried green hot peppers (optional).