Couscous stew with grilled calamari and zhoug

Couscous stew with grilled calamari and zhoug

New Middle Eastern Food
Mark Roper

This couscous is thick, rich and intensely spicy — perfect with simply grilled calamari. It is also delicious served cold. Zhoug is a fiercely hot coriander relish, and is the ideal condiment for many seafood dishes.

Couscous stew


Quantity Ingredient
60ml olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 long green chilli, seeded, scraped and finely shredded
1 teaspoon honey
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g couscous
100g chickpeas, soaked and cooked
6 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint leaves
12 medium calamari tubes, split and scored on the inner surface
80ml olive oil
1/2 cup Zhoug
1 lemon, juiced
warm arabic flatbead, to serve


  1. To make the couscous stew, heat the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan, add the onion and cook over a gentle heat until soft. Add the garlic paste, coriander, cumin, allspice, chilli powder and paprika, and mix well. Cook for a further 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes, green chilli and honey. Cook for another 10 minutes, then taste for seasoning.
  2. Add the couscous, chickpeas and olives, cover the pan and cook over a low heat until the couscous swells and softens. This will take 5–10 minutes.
  3. When you are ready to eat, heat the griller or barbecue to its highest temperature. Brush the calamari with olive oil and season, then place the calamari, scored side down, on the hotplate. After 40 seconds, turn them over. In a few moments, they will curl into a tight cylinder. Cook for no more than a minute, then remove from the heat.
  4. To serve, stir the parsley and mint through the couscous. Place the calamari on top and dot with tiny blobs of zhoug (be careful, it is very hot!). Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve with bread.
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