Harissa Garlic Prawns with Couscous

It is hard to look beyond seafood when it comes to quick easy meals and these harissa and garlic prawns. Served with buttered couscous this entire meal is ready in less than 30 minutes and raises smiles all around!

Portrait image of harissa garlic prawns served on a bed of buttered couscous

Harissa Garlic Prawns with Couscous.

Whether you call them prawns or shrimp these amazing beauties really are the star of this stunning North African inspired recipe.

Chilli with seafood is a well-trodden path but this recipe uses harissa paste rather than the usual combination of garlic and chilli found in my salt and pepper squid. This really broadens the flavour profile in this really simple meal.

We serve this with a simple buttered couscous which really carries the flavour of this recipe.

Grab your finest prawns for this recipe, this one really benefits from using the biggest ones that you can lay your hands on!

This recipe uses size 8-10 prawns, the same as these BBQ Prawns.

Portrait overhead image of harissa garlic prawns served on a bed of buttered couscous served with a lemon wedge on a white plate

What do Prawn Sizes Mean?

I wish there was a simple way to explain this… But hey… I didn’t make this up!

There are two ways prawns and shrimp are ‘sized’. HOSO and PDTO, the first is head on shell on, the second is peeled deveined and tail on.

These are then broken down into sizes, such as 8-10 which refers to the number of prawns per pound or kilo.

But to make it easy each of the shrimp in this recipe weighed 60g each, PDTO.

In common parlance, these were size 8-12, HOSO.

Did you get that, hehehehe! 

You can get smaller prawns for this recipe, the will just cook quicker.

For instance, the size 22-24 shrimp I use in this squid ink spaghetti with shrimp recipe will take around 3 minutes to cook.

Portrait close up image of harissa garlic prawns served on a bed of buttered couscous served on a white plate

The Couscous.

The side for these harissa garlic shrimp is a very simple buttered couscous recipe.

It takes just a few minutes to cook and I like to load mine with as much parsley as I can get my hands on.

Using the word ‘cook’ is a bit heavy-handed to be honest.

We throw it in a bowl with some boiling water, salt and some butter. Then seal it with some cling film and let it sit, hardly mad chef skills at all!

Just make sure you give it long enough to work, it should take around 6-7 minutes to be perfect.

If you are using smaller prawns take this into consideration.

Landscape image of harissa garlic prawns served on a bed of buttered couscous served with a lemon wedge on a white plate
Harissa Garlic Prawns with Couscous

Harissa Garlic Prawns with Couscous

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This quick and simple garlic prawns recipe gets a glorious hit of spice with some North African Harissa paste. A simple side dish of buttered Couscous means that this whole meal can be cooked in less than 30 minutes.


  • 600 g Tiger Prawns (PDTO)
  • 1 Tbsp Harissa Paste
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 100 g Green Beans
  • 1 Tomato
  • 150 g Couscous
  • 50 g Butter
  • 200 ml Boiling Water
  • 25 g Chopped Parsley
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt to Taste


  1. Remove the heads and peel the prawns if they are not prepared.
  2. Peel the garlic and finely slice it.
  3. Add the prawns, harissa, garlic and olive oil to a bowl and marinate for 10 mins whilst we prepare the other ingredients.
  4. Top and tail the green beans and chop into 5cm lengths.
  5. Chop the tomato into wedges then remove the seeds and then cut into a small dice.
  6. Place the couscous in a bowl.
  7. Cut half of the butter into a small dice and sprinkle over the bowl and season with salt.
  8. Pour over the boiling water, cover in cling film and set aside whilst we cook the prawns.
  9. Heat a wide-based frying pan over a medium-high heat.
  10. When hot add the butter and when it starts to foam throw in the prawns.
  11. Cook for a couple of mins and then add the green beans.
  12. Continue to saute for another 4-5 mins.
  13. Just before the prawns are ready to come out remove the film form the couscous.
  14. Add the parsley and squeeze through the juice from half of the lemon and fork through before serving.
  15. Mix the diced tomato through the prawns, we don't want to cook them just give them a little heat.
  16. Serve with the remaining lemon as wedges on the side of the plate.


Serve with a wedge of lemon to squeeze lemon juice over when served.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 579 Total Fat: 32g Saturated Fat: 15g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 14g Cholesterol: 370mg Sodium: 2006mg Carbohydrates: 35g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 5g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 40g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

8 thoughts on this Recipe:

  1. Harissa adds so much flavour to dishes. I usually have a jar in the fridge, but I also make up my own dry mix and just add oil when I want to use it. I love you served it with couscous too.

  2. Good morning, Brian! I just wanted to tell you I made this the other night and it was wonderful. Our family loves shrimp and I am always looking for healthy yet flavorful meals so this was perfect. Bookmarking to make this again!

  3. Such a good idea to use harissa. I first tried it in Tunisia years back. I love the flavour! I love spicy prawns too and these looks so good! Couscous is a great pairing. There’s a lot of North African influence in this dish!

  4. Harrissa is one of my favourite spice blends and works so well on pretty much anything. I really like the idea of using it on prawns.

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