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Information about Tunisian Couscous

Speciality Dish - Tunisia


Scroll down for a Traditional Tunisian Couscous Recipe



Go to:-   Tunisia Featured Ingredient   |  Tunisia Main Page | Cooking by Country Main Page



Couscous is eaten in most North African countries, however it is considered to be the National dish of Tunisia. To read more about couscous “the ingredient” click here .

As a dish, couscous served in Tunisia differs to that of the rest of North Africa in two main ways. Firstly, the sauce is often red due to the use of Harissa. Secondly, Tunisians often use fish with couscous: many other North African cuisines have a leaning towards meat. It is traditionally cooked in a special saucepan called a couscousiere which is a little like a double boiler. The sauce and meat/fish are cooked in the lower half right next to the fire, whilst the top portion has holes in the bottom through which the steam from the cooking sauce can permeate into the couscous. When prepared this way the couscous gets all the flavour of whatever is cooking below it.  You can buy modern couscousiers.


There are dozens of recipes for the complete Tunisian Couscous dish but below is just one using fish. You can find others on the main Tunisia Cooking by Country page and throughout the site.

Tunisian Bluefish Couscous   HT   MC  Tunisian  40mins

Serves 4     Hot Fish Main Course Dairy Free Tunisia Nth Africa North African

1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Green Capsicum (Sweet Pepper) diced
1 large Carrot, diced
6 Spring Onions, green & white parts roughly chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, crushed
1 tbsp freshly grated Ginger
1 teasp Harissa
2 teasp Flour
360ml/12fl.oz. Fish Stock
The juice and grated zest of ½ Orange
1 teasp Fresh Thyme Leaves
675g/1 ½ lb Bluefish Fillets, skinned
(Substitute halibut, grouper, tuna)
400g/14oz Uncooked Couscous
Boiling Water


1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, add the capsicum, carrot, spring onions, garlic, ginger and Harissa and cook, stirring for 10 minutes.

2. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

3. Add the stock, orange zest and juice and thyme, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat then place fish on top, spooning some of sauce over. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.

4. Meanwhile, place the couscous in a large serving bowl and cover with plenty of boiling water making sure there is at least 6mm/ ¼ -inch of water above the couscous. Cover tightly and leave to stand for about 10 minutes.

5. To serve - fluff the couscous up with a fork then pile the fish mixture on top of the couscous. Serve immediately.

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