Moroccan couscous with shrimp Fast2eat

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Are you looking for a quick meal to curb your hunger? Try this shrimp couscous, which comes together in a flash. It is faster than waiting for takeout.

It’s a delicious, all-in-one dinner for busy nights.

Couscous is a convenient product to have stocked in the pantry as an easy and fast alternative to rice, quinoa, and noodles. When cooked, they look like golden spheres with a pleasant nutty flavour.

Couscous is one of Morocco’s staple foods. Friday is the traditional day for eating couscous in Morocco, where the plain couscous is topped with a stew containing different seasonal vegetables.

I used raw shrimp that was frozen but then thawed. The shell-on variety often has the best flavour, since the shell protects the shrimp during freezing and thawing. And I also use it to prepare the stock to infuse the shrimp flavour into the couscous. But if you’re short on time, opt for the already peeled variety to keep prep time quicker and use vegetable stock.

I have eaten the best shrimp couscous at my brother’s, and I loved it. My sister-in-law gave me the directions, but I could not reproduce the same deliciousness. Her best tip was to use the shrimp stock. This is what adds the best shrimp flavour to the dish.

I tried and failed several times, it was always too dry for me; I believe I haven’t used enough butter. I am always afraid to use too much butter, and it sure makes all the difference.

Then, Larisse and Andreza, from the WhatsApp recipes group, told me that they usually add Olive oil instead of butter. In my opinion, olive oil added a little extra flavour and created a silkier texture. Another tip they gave me was to leave the sautéed shrimp and vegetables with more sauce. This helps the couscous stay moister.

It is a pescetarian and dairy-free meal, as I use olive oil instead of butter.

If you omit the shrimp, it’s a great vegetarian or vegan grain option, but not gluten-free. For a gluten-free meal, use quinoa instead of couscous.

Couscous is low in fat and delivers proteins and some minerals.

Read more about what is Couscous and its variations.

Check out my article with the Smart tips you should know when cooking shrimp for a perfect shrimp every time.

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Moroccan couscous with shrimp Fast2eat

Moroccan couscous with shrimp Fast2eat

The shrimp and couscous in this dish complement each other so nicely. Perfect if you want an easy, light and quick meal. This one-pot wonder will impress friends and family and satisfy even the hungriest diners.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
wait time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people


Marinate the Shrimp

  • 500 g Shrimp - cleaned, peeled and deveined
  • Lemon juice - juice from 1 lemon or lime
  • Salt - to taste
  • 1 tbsp Garlic - minced
  • Cilantro - lots to taste - fresh leaves chopped or dried
  • Coriander seed - optional
  • 1 tbsp Hondashi - Bonito fish soup stock - optional
  • Thyme - to taste
  • Paprika - to taste
  • Parsley - to taste
  • Green onion - chopped to taste or chives
  • Ladyfinger pepper - optional - chopped and seeded or red-pepper flakes
  • Black pepper - optional to taste

Shrimp stock (or use Vegetable Stock)

  • Shrimp - heads (optional, shells, and tails - or use 1tbsp Vegetable Instant Stock Mix)
  • 2 cups Water - boiling
  • 1 tbsp Hondashi - Bonito fish soup stock - optional
  • Salt - optional to taste

Pan-fry the shrimp


  • 1 cup Moroccan Couscous
  • 1.5-2 cup Shrimp Stock - or Vegetable Stock
  • Olive oil - and or melted butter
  • Saffron - optional to taste

Garnish (optional)

  • Basil - Fresh leaves chopped
  • Cilantro - Fresh leaves chopped
  • Parsley - Fresh leaves chopped
  • Green onion - or chives - Fresh leaves chopped
  • Lime juice - or lemon wedges
  • Lime zest - or Lemon zest
  • Olive oil - and or melted butter


Marinate the Shrimp

  • Peel and devein the shrimp.
  • In a small bowl, toss the shrimp with freshly squeezed lime (or lemon) and your favourite herbs and spices.
  • Let it marinate while you prepare the stock.
  • Note: Marinate for about 10 minutes. Don’t go longer than 30 minutes, as the acid in the lemon juice will start to cook the shrimp without any heat needed, which happens with a long marinade time.

Shrimp stock

  • Give Shrimp heads, shells, and tails a quick rinse under cold water first.
  • Place the heads, shells, and tails in a Small Saucepan with enough water to cover the shells. Add salt and HonDashi (Bonito Fish Soup Stock) to improve the taste.
  • Simmer the whole thing uncovered until the water takes on a light orange-stock colour, about 10 minutes.
  • Blend the shells and water in a blender and then strain all the solid.
  • Use the stock in your shrimp recipe for an extra boost of flavour.
  • If using Vegetable Stock
  • Add 1 tbsp Vegetable Instant Stock Mix to 1 cup of boiling water.

Pan-fry the shrimp

  • In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of oil on medium-high until hot but not smoking. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook for 2 minutes per side until the shrimp are pink, opaque, and cooked through.
  • Remove the shrimp from the skillet and transfer it to a plate.
  • Attention: Be careful not to overcook the shrimp, or they will become tough. They will cook fast! All shrimp should appear pink with red tails. They should appear slightly white, but too much white means you've overcooked your shrimp.
  • If needed, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan; Add the onion and cook until it's slightly translucent, for about 3 minutes.
  • Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add shrimp back to the pan, and cook, stirring for 1 minute—season as desired.
  • Reserve.

Prepare couscous

  • Boil 1.5-2 cups Shrimp Stock (or Vegetable Stock).
  • Stir in the couscous, cover the pot and remove from heat.
  • Let rest for 10-15 minutes, allowing the couscous to absorb all the liquid.
  • Fluff with a fork.
  • Add cooked shrimp, drizzle some olive oil (or melted butter if you prefer), and juice from 1 lime (or lemon). Stir gently. Check for seasoning and add additional olive oil, lime (or lemon) juice, salt and pepper to taste if needed.
  • Note: Reserve some shrimp for garnish.

Garnish (optional)

  • Place the couscous in a bowl and top with the reserved shrimp.
  • Serve with lime/lemon wedges, lemon zest, basil (and or cilantro, parsley, green onions/chives) scattered on top and drizzled with oil.
  • Serve with sautéed vegetables as a side or mixed in (see variations in notes).



Which couscous should you use?

For this recipe, I used Morrocan couscous.
Moroccan couscous requires no cooking; Simply steep it in boiling water or broth.
1 cup of dry couscous will give you about 2 to 2 ½ cups of cooked couscous, which should generously feed 4 people.
Read more about what couscous is and its variations.

Aren’t coriander seeds the same thing as cilantro?

Coriander seeds are the dried seed or fruit of the Coriandrum sativum plant, which belongs to the parsley family, native to Southern Europe and the Mediterranean region. Coriander seeds are the subtle spice you didn’t know your dishes were missing. It adds a certain something to a dish.
Cilantro is the leaf of this same plant, and surprisingly, its flavour is vastly different from that of coriander seeds.
Cilantro has a complex but delicate flavour with a hint of pepper, mint, and lemon.
Coriander seeds have a sweet, aromatic taste with a touch of citrus.


If you get frozen shrimp, let them thaw fully before starting.
I used raw shrimp, and I thawed them by running water over them through a strainer for a few minutes.
Frozen shrimp is my go-to protein for fast dinners because:
  • They thaw out quickly – no need to remember to pull them out of the freezer well in advance.
  • They cook quickly - They usually take about 5 minutes to cook, but the cooking time will vary depending on the size you use, so keep a close eye on them.


Shrimp cook quickly, and overcooking them will make them rubbery and generally not appetizing. But the nice thing about them is you can tell they are done when they turn from grey to pink.

What is Hondashi®

Hondashi® is a Bonito fish-based seasoning for those who like to make the preparations even tastier, stimulating a balanced and flavourful diet. Hondashi® guarantees the authentic taste of fish to the preparations and can be used in the most varied recipes with fish, seafood, oriental recipes, and fish-based broths, giving a delicious and full-bodied flavour!


White or yellow onions work best with their mild flavour.


Use as much or as little as you like.


With vegetables

You can serve with sautéed vegetables as a side or mixed with the couscous.
Some options are:
  • Leeks - sliced into 1/2-inch half-moons
  • Carrots - shredded
  • Frozen peas – thawed
  • Zucchinis – sliced
  • Broccoli – florets sliced
  • Asparagus or green beans - chopped
Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, and then add zucchinis, leeks, carrots, and garlic. Cook, often stirring, until leeks are tender, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the shrimp stock, and bring to boil.
Stir in couscous. Remove from heat.
Cover and let stand for 15 minutes.
Add shrimp; stir gently.
Serve with basil scattered on top and drizzled with oil.
You can also mix the following options into the couscous
  • Apricots - sliced
  • Cocktail tomatoes – halved
  • Cucumbers - sliced
Feel free to choose your favourite ones for a different flavour profile.
In Morocco, the typical vegetables include potatoes, carrots, turnips, squash, pumpkin, cabbage, aubergine, and courgette. Green beans, peas, chickpeas, and fava beans are sometimes added. Moroccan couscous uses saffron.
Tomato forms the stew’s soupy base, with plenty of aromatic spices like saffron, cumin, and black pepper. It’s common for the vegetables to be cooked until they are soft and mushy.

For a tropical special coconut flavour

Coconut milk is also a great addition, and you can mix it with the shrimp or vegetable stock before adding it to the couscous.

Couscous with Butter

In Morocco, some families stir small amounts of a thick ghee-like preserved butter through couscous before adding the stew topping. Known as smen, the preserved butter also often contains a variety of herbs and spices. Smen is, however, a delicacy, so it is usually only used on special occasions or by wealthy families.

Other grains options

Feel free to substitute the grain of your choice: pearl couscous and bulgur wheat are other quick-cooking grains, or for gluten-free diets, quinoa is also relatively fast.
Pearl millet, sorghum, and other cereals are sometimes cooked in a similar way in other regions, and the resulting dishes are also sometimes called couscous.

To properly prepare your recipe, you may need to use the conversion tables to accurately convert the weight, volume, length, and temperature of all the necessary ingredients. These Fast2eat conversion tables will allow you to ensure that your recipe turns out perfectly and that all measurements are precise and accurate.

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Calories: 171kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 201mg | Sodium: 488mg | Potassium: 476mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 129mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.

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