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. These Moroccan meatballs go so well with this herb couscous.

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 and 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  I love it sprinkled over oven-roasted vegetables, or cooked on fish and chicken.  It’s 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:

Recipe – Morrocan meatballs with herb couscous – serves 4


  • 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 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
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (again I used smoked)
  • salt to taste
  • fresh coriander/cilantro to garnish

Herb couscous

  • 200gms couscous (I prefer wholewheat couscous, it’s 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 hand’s 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 on 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 overdose.



  1. Brett Sibson

    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.

  2. Sam

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

  3. 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!

  4. Sam

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

  5. 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!

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

  7. Sam

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

  8. 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.

  9. Sam

    HI Cami

    Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for hte feedback.


  10. Sam

    HI Connie, I have no idea where in the world you are so I don’t know. It is a middle eastern condiment available fairly widely. I will be post ing a recipe for it soon if you want to make it from scratch

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