moroccan meatballs with herb couscous

spicy Moroccan meatballs with a herb couscous

Last week I worked on a food styling assignment for a Canadian TV commercial where I had to make a very large meatball for one of the scenes.  Prior to getting the job, I had wanted to make a Moroccan spicy meatball dish as I love North African flavours.

After the job, as can be expected, I lost some of my inspiration and fondness for meatballs.

Nevertheless, I decided since there was such a meatball focus, I would proceed with developing this recipe regardless.

I’m pleased I did, it was delicious, and so comforting with the sudden onset of wintery weather in Cape Town.

I am a very big fan of Egyptian Dukkah and think the Nomu one is simply perfect. I love it sprinkled over oven roasted vegetables, or cooked on fish and chicken.  Its wonderful with roasted cauliflower and red onions and with pears. Two years ago I stuffed my Christmas turkey with sage, herbs and dukkah and it went down a treat.

I wanted to include it in my meatball dish, so this is what you need to make these:


  • 500gm beef or lamb mince (I used organic, extra lean mince)
  • 1 onion grated
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • a pinch of dried chilli flakes as hot as you would like.  I used smoked chilli flakes
  • 2 Tbs Nomu dukkah
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • salt (it needs a fair bit) and pepper
  • olive oil for frying


  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 x 400gm tins of chopped peeled tomatoes
  • 200 ml chicken or lamb stock.  I love the Nomu lamb fond so used this
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (again I used smoked)
  • salt to taste
  • fresh coriander / cilantro to garnish

Nomu dukkah and lamb fond

Herb couscous

  • 200gms couscous (I prefer wholeweat couscous, its tastier and better for you)
  • a glug of olive oil or 50gms of butter (I prefer using olive oil)
  • 350ml chicken stock
  • 1/2 bunch parsley chopped (2 T of chopped)
  • 1/2 bunch coriander / cilantro chopped (2 T of chopped)

How to make these:

  •  place all the meatball ingredients in a bowl and using your hands mix to combine
  • roll into smallish meatballs
  • heat the olive oil in a non stick pan and fry the meatballs in batches until nicely browned on all sides and then set aside
  • lightly fry the onions, garlic and spice ingredients for the sauce in the meatball pan (with a dash more olive oil) until softened – about 5 minutes.
  • add the tomatoes and the stock
  • bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer – cook for about 10 minutes until slightly thickened
  • add the meatballs back into the sauce and allow them to finish off cooking – about 8 – 10 minutes depending how big your meatballs are
  • to make the couscous, pour the hot stock and olive oil over the grains in a bowl. Cover and allow to stand until all the water has been absorbed.  Fluff up with a fork and mix in the freshly chopped herbs to serve

Scatter over some roughly chopped coriander to bring in more freshness.

This dish is nicely spicy, a little bit sweet and fragrant, with the nuts and sesame seeds in the dukkah adding some texture.

I’m pleased I still love them, despite a small over dose.

the abundance of herbs add a lovely fresh dimension to this dish

fragrant and spicy

nuts and seeds in the dukkah adding a bit of crunch

Info on Nomu can be found on their beautiful website

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19 Responses to moroccan meatballs with herb couscous

  1. Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets April 4, 2011 at 6:23 am #

    I don’t even eat meat but the flavors sound awesome and the top photo totally blew me away. Great job!

  2. Lori April 4, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    Yum! Pretty pictures Sam.

  3. Heather April 4, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    Oh wow… this looks divine.

  4. Tara April 5, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    Looks delicious!

  5. Kitchenboy April 5, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    It looks absolutely fabulous!

  6. Sam April 5, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    Thanks K-boy!

  7. Marisa April 5, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    What a great idea to add dukkah to the meatballs! Bookmarked.

  8. Brett Sibson November 29, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    I made this for supper last night, the sauce was amazing! Had to leave out the dukkah, its obviously popular, because my local shop was out. Was still really nice though.

  9. Sam November 29, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    Excellent Brett, thanks for stopping by to leave a comment. Sam

  10. Lindsay September 4, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    I just wanted to ask, for the tins of tomatoes, did you include the liquid from the cans too, or should they be drained? Made this last night and it was really tasty! Definitely going to find more uses for that Dukkah. So flavourful!

  11. Sam September 5, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    Hi Lindsay – yes I used the juice and the tomatoes.

  12. Kim April 9, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

    Hi Sam. I think I am making my way through your recipes. Made this tonight and it was delicious. Found the dukkah in PnP and think I will find many uses!

  13. Sam April 10, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    That’s great Kim, lovely to hear

  14. Bronwen September 19, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    Hi Sam, I made this and it was awesome! Definately going to make it again!

  15. Carmen M Weather August 17, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    This is lunch today. Perfect for a rainy Sunday. I have made this before and it was awesome!

  16. Sam August 18, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

    Glad you enjoyed them in the past Carmen and hope you do / did again. 🙂

  17. Cami March 2, 2016 at 8:49 pm #

    Made this recipe today, it was very good 🙂 i think it would be good if you put on the recipe the time length and for the number of portions. I would personally say it’s a 3-4 portion recipe.

  18. Sam March 3, 2016 at 9:29 am #

    HI Cami

    Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for hte feedback.



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