Barbequed Chilli & Garlic Prawns with Couscous Salad

Before I get started, I just have to say thank you to everyone.

It has been a tough few weeks since the loss of my darling Mr Woofy and I must admit that there are times that the grief became almost too much for me to bear. But so many of you have reached out to me through the blog, facebook, twitter and email to offer me support and love that I was truly touched. One of the most hurtful comments I’ve heard during this time was that “he was just a dog”, but there are so many of you who understand what the loss of a beloved furkid means and the stories that you shared helped me work through my grief.

So from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

At this point, I have to also give a public thanks to my best friend and sister from another mister, Vee. You were on the phone with me trying to keep me calm on my frantic drive from work to the vet on the day that Mr Woofy passed away. You kept on trying again and again to reach out to me though I kept hiding. You cried with me when I was on the phone to you, and I know that your heart broke for my loss.

We’ve been friends for almost 14 years now and I have to say that I’m grateful every single day to have such an amazing person like you in my life. I love you, babe. xoxoxo.

For my first recipe of 2012, I thought I’d share something quick and ridiculously easy with you – a dish that I actually made for Christmas and which was relished by the family.

Those of you in the Northern Hemisphere may take for granted the fact that Christmas roasts are just part of the season. Unfortunately for those of us who reside in Australia, cooking a roast for Christmas lunch usually involves turning the house into a ridiculously stuffy sauna that leaves you so dehydrated that your tongue feels like a piece of beef jerky in the mouth.


Anyway, I digress.

While we (for some bizarre reason) keep this tradition alive, Christmas in Australia wouldn’t be the same without a seafood dish of some kind. For our family, that usually means something involves those glorious bastards that we call prawns. That’s right – prawns, not shrimp – despite what Paul Hogan said about his ‘barbie’ back in the 80’s.

Barbequed Chilli & Garlic Prawns with Couscous Salad
(Adapted from David Bitton’s cookbook)

Serves 4

Ingredients for the prawns:
20-25 large prawns, peeled and deveined (tails cleaned but left on!)
2 tbsp fresh garlic, finely chopped
2-4 birds eye chillis, finely diced (depending on your tolerance)
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to season

Ingredients for the couscous salad:
50g couscous (uncooked)
100mL boiling water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large tomato, deseeded and finely diced
1 medium red onion, finely diced
1 medium mango (ripe), peeled and diced
1 small bunch of coriander leaves only, washed and drained
Juice from 1 lemon
Salt, to taste
Fresh lemon wedges, to serve

1. Place all the ingredients for the prawns in a bowl and make sure to toss well. I like to also massage the ingredients into the prawns for a few seconds to allow everything to mix together really well and evenly.

2. Once this is done, you want to store them in the fridge for at least 2 hours (better if you can do it overnight) in a covered container or a ziplock bag.

3. When you’re ready to prepare the salad, place the dry couscous in a large bowl. Boil your water (pot or kettle is fine), add the salt and olive oil then pour it over the top of the couscous. Cover and let it stand for about 5 minutes or till all the water has been absorbed. Fluff the couscous with a fork and set aside somewhere warm (room temperature is better than in the fridge).

4. Also finely dice your onion, mango, tomato and coriander leaves. These can be prepared beforehand and just stored in the fridge till they’re needed. Note that you should not combine these with the couscous till just before serving as the couscous can absorb additional liquid from the tomato and mango and become gummy, which is definitely not the desired texture.

5. Once it comes time to serve the dish, cook the prawns (I prefer a barbeque but you can just use a hot frying pan) then set aside.

Use an egg or pastry ring to form the rounds (I’ve stacked two together as mine are quite short). Place on the plate and carefully fill with the couscous salad, making sure to tap it down enough so that the stack will hold it’s form but is not squished.

As you can see here, you want a decent amount of couscous if each person is getting 6-7 decent-sized prawns on top of it! My rounds were about 12cm in diameter and about 3-4cm high – though in all honesty, there was a fair bit of leftover couscous and we each ended up eating more of it!

6. Carefully arrange the prawns on top in a tidy pile whilst keeping the couscous as intact as you can…

I admit that I struggled with this part. But then again, I’m not exactly known for my delicate touch or coordination.

7. Sprinkle some chopped herbs on top (I just went with more coriander leaves and loved it) – and then you’re all done!

Serve these bad boys with some fresh lemon wedges and prepare to blow away your friends and family from the awesomeness of this dish. It is a fabulous recipe to keep handy as almost everything can be prepared beforehand and with just a few minutes of cooking and assembly before it’s presented, the appearance and flavour is just so wonderful!

It is a marvelous summer dish as the freshness of the onion and sweetness of the mango keep it very light, and comes together so magically with the pungent garlicy-spicy prawns that you’ll find yourself with a plate licked clean.

Oh, and just one last thing about this dish…

Feel free to marinate more of those prawns than you actually need for cooking, as if you’re anything like me and adore the tasty bastards then you’ll want some leftovers than you can greedily munch down on after you’re done sharing nicely and playing host.

“What’s this, more prawns left over? Well I’d just better finish them off then!”

Stay tuned to this channel as next week, I have a totally bitchin’ summer cocktail recipe and a giveaway of a sexy-as-sin bamix deluxe blender


  1. Frankly the insensitive jerk who said “he’s just a dog” deserves every ounce of misery in his/her bitter life. And I pity them because they’re obviously missing out on the most beautiful and unconditional love you could ever have in your life.

    I’m glad that you’re bouncing back Ellie. Definitely bookmarking this recipe for one of my weeknight dinners. :)

  2. What a gorgeous prawn dish. We don’t cook a “proper” Christmas lunch. Sometimes I might give in and cook a ham but it’s usually seafood and salad at our house. It’s just too hot to eat all that stuff. I have a Christmas in July and it feels really good to eat all the roasts and casseroles.

    So sorry about the dog. They are so much a part of the family – as close as any friend. Even more if they follow you into the bathroom. My heart goes out to you for your loss. I’ll be the same way when my beloved Charlie heads for the bridge.

  3. Sounds like you have an amazing friend there!
    This dish looks so beautiful. Fresh and light and surprisingly easy :)
    Nic@diningwithastud recently posted..Happy Valentine’s Day peeps!!

  4. Sure looks amazing, and I bet it tastes as amazing as it looks! Glad you’re feeling a bit better, but give yourself plenty of time. I’m glad you’ve got great friends to help you through :)

  5. Lizzy (Good Things)
    Twitter: bizzylizzycooks

    Delicious recipe… I could pick that top prawn right off the top!

    And I am sorry to hear about your friend… I lost my border collie a few years ago, she was 15, such a huge loss.

  6. I think you really have to have a pet to realise they are truly another family member.
    I am so glad you are back on your blog as I was just new to it and reading your older posts and waiting for your new stuff again.

  7. I’m so glad you are feeling better and blogging again! I’ve missed reading your posts!

    This looks amazing :) I love how you’ve plated the couscous salad into a nice cylinder disk hehe ~

    Take care of yourself!

  8. Wow this looks unbelievably good! Great pictures too!
    I will definitely have to make this soon.

  9. The shrimp looks amazing!

    Be careful with yourself for a little while, healing after a loss that large is a process.

    You can do it though. I’ve been blessed in my life with the love of several goldens and a few labs and I know in my heart that he would want you to try and be happy because if anything defines the personality of those dogs, it’s the word happy…



  10. Beautiful! And it sounds delicious!!!! Thansk for sharing!

  11. it’s a little late, but i’m sorry to hear about your loss. this dish however looks so good. i’ve got the winter blues over here right now, and this dish would probably help pick me up.

  12. This is a pro presentation! I have a serious weakness for shrimp and this is making me crave for that plate now. So yum!

  13. This looks soo delicious I have to make it ASAP. So, I will give it a try within the next few days for me and my hubby. I’m sure we will both love it! After all, who would not love prawns? 😉

    Thanks for posting it,

    Grandma Kat

  14. Barbequed Chilli & Garlic Prawns with Couscous Salad #NowCooking

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