Around the world in 80 dishes No. 46: Moroccan lamb couscous

Ingredients to serve 5
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3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons of ras el hanout
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bunch celery, cut into cubes
Quarter bunch fresh coriander, chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 carrot
2 courgettes
2 turnips
Quarter of a savoury cabbage
700g lamb leg

For the couscous

500g couscous grain
500ml water
1 teaspoon salt
100ml olive oil


This traditional Moroccan meal is also one of our most popular dishes at the restaurant Momo. For me, the marinating of the lamb with the ras el hanout is the key to this dish, and to ensure a full flavour, this must be done the night before. Ras el hanout is a popular blend of spices that is used across North Africa. The name means "top of the shop" in Arabic and refers to a mixture of the best spices a seller has to offer. A couscous steamer is preferred.

For the rich sauce, first heat the olive oil and add the onions, then cook for 5 minutes. After adding the carrots, celery, chopped tomato and tomato paste, season with salt and ras el hanout, pour in 2 pints of water and leave to boil.

Next, lower the heat and cook for about 1 hour and then add the rest of the vegetables and cook for about 20 minutes. Finally, add olive oil and the chopped coriander to the sauce.

To make the couscous grain, pour dry into a large bowl with 20ml of olive oil and salt, add the water and leave to soak for about 20 minutes blending now and again with your hands.

Cook for about 15 minutes, preferably in a couscous steamer, until the steam begins to come up through the grains. Next, leave to cool in a bowl and, once cool enough to handle, sprinkle with 100ml of water and the rest of the olive oil.

To make the lamb, marinate the night before with half a tablespoon of the ras el hanout spice. Once ready to cook, add some chopped coriander and olive oil and then grill the skewers on the barbeque or grill. Serve in a deep plate with couscous at the bottom, sauce to your taste and grilled lamb.

David Jones is head chef at Momo restaurant in London (