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Tunisian Couscous with Octopus Recipe

posted on: Jul 6, 2022

Tunisian dish “Couscous with Octopus“-Photo

By: Mariem Hamdi / Arab America Contributing Writer

When visiting Tunisia, you should try the Tunisian Couscous with Octopus. It is a very famous dish, showing the fascinating taste of Tunisian cooking that exemplifies the uniqueness and deliciousness of the country’s traditional cuisine. The Octopus Couscous is very known on the east coast of Tunisia, where people fish for octopus and then cook it fresh for the couscous. 

To prepare the Octopus to be cooked, first, you should beat it with a special stick called “Ghernafa” which is a triangular tip of a date-palm leaf. The more you hammer it the more tender it becomes because if you don’t hammer it, it will be like plastic.

If you are making a feast for a big family, you need more than 1 Kg, it’s about serving 1 kg of octopus per person. 

Here’s What You Need to Make a Delicious Couscous:

Fresh Octopus (1 Kg per person)

Chilli pepper (1 teaspoon)

Harissa (1 tbsp)

Curcuma (1 teaspoon)

Tomato paste (2 tbsp)

Olive oil 




Black pepper 

For the Vegetables on the Couscous, You Need:

Potato (1 per person)




Fava beans 

Green peppers (1 per person)

Following These Steps: 

In the pot, pour olive oil and heat it, add the pepper that you have already put coarse salt inside of them and add the chopped onion until it becomes translucent. 

Add the pieces of the octopus

Add the chili pepper, the harissa, the Curcuma, and the tomato paste, and let it cook for 5 to 10 minutes 

Add the soaked chickpeas with salt and pepper, then cover it with water and let it cook for 30 minutes

While the sauce is boiling, take cups of couscous according to the number of people. Rinse the couscous so that it soaks in water, and let it swell. 

Afterward, add the potatoes, the zucchini cut into pieces, and the chickpeas. Continue cooking till all the ingredients are tender. 

put the couscous in the colander of the “couscoussier” (The steamer pot) and cook it above the sauce for a quarter of an hour (It can go up to an hour, it depends on the type of semolina used). 

Finally, in a large bowl, put the couscous, drizzle with sauce and toss gently. Then decorate the dish with the most important and delicious thing on top, The Octopus pieces, and the potato, zucchini, and fried peppers. Don’t forget to serve the rest of the sauce on the side. 

Enjoy your meal, and Bon appetite! 😋؛

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