Piri-piri Prawns and Harissa Couscous

For a little Moroccan touch to your evenings in, why not try this African-meet-Middle-East dish? Really easy to assemble, twice as easy to cook and very, very tasty. You can also adjust the final hotness by choosing how much chilli flakes you put in and, should you prefer to tone it down a little and not use chillies whatsoever, why not substitute them with smoked paprika or cinnamon? The recipe is James Martin’s, but I adapted it ever so slightly by using my own spice mix rather than the baharat one as advised.


Ingredients (for the prawns)

These quantities are for approximately 12 medium size king prawns. Adjust accordingly if you are using larger amounts.

  • 12 king prawns
  • 2 red chillies, seeds in, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1/2 lemon, juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • black pepper, ground

Ingredients (for the couscous)

  • 300g couscous
  • 400ml boiling water
  • 1 tsp harissa
  • juice from half a pomegranate and seeds from a whole one
  • 1/2 lemon, juice
  • 1 tsp each of: dried coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin & paprika
  • black pepper, ground
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 small bunch of coriander, to serve


  1. Prepare the marinade for the prawns by putting all the ingredients (but the prawns) in a food processor and blitzing until smooth and pink in colour. 
  2. Tip the prawns in a shallow dish and pour the marinade all over them, then cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least one hour.
  3. Take the prawns out of the fridge and either cook on a grill pan on a medium heat for about 2 minutes a side or arrange on a baking tray and cook under a grill for about 4 minutes in total.
  4. For the couscous, pour the lemon juice, harissa and pomegranate juice in a big bowl, then tip the couscous in and add the spice mix. Mix it all together, then pour in the boiling water, cover tightly and leave to stand for about 5 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, peel and finely chop the onion and put in a separate bowl with the pomegranate seeds and coriander.
  6. Once the couscous has absorbed all the liquid, remove the cling film and fluff it with a fork (don’t use a spoon). Tip in the other ingredients in the bowl, season with salt and pepper and serve topped with the searing hot prawns.


  • If you, like my partner, do not enjoy the crunchiness and freshness of pomegranate seeds, you can substitute them with raisins, currants, chopped dried apricots, cranberries or, even, a mixture of all of them. 
  • You can also use cranberry juice instead of pomegranate juice, which saves you having to buy a pomegranate only to squeeze half of it.

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