Steamed North African Leg of Lamb with Fruit Cous Cous

Leg of lamb steamed in Moroccan spices is simple and delicious. The water that you have used for steaming the lamb is used afterwards for the cous cous.

6-8 Portions
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 60-90 minutes



  • 1.5-2kg leg of lamb

Spice Rub

  • 100g butter (soft) or olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves. finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp coriander. finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. saffron
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch maldon salt and freshly ground pepper
  • juice and zest o half a lemon
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme

To Cook

  • handful each of corriander and mint leaves
  • 120g dried apricots

Spicy Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 tbps olive oil
  • 200g canned plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 large red chilli, finely chopped (seeds removed if you'd like it milder)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbps caster sugar
  • 50ml cooking liquid


  • 300g couscous
  • 500-600ml cooking liquid
  • 60g sultanas
  • 2 tbp mint, shredded
  • 2 tbp flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbps corriander, finely chopped
  • Pinch maldon salt


  1. Lamb: Wash and dry the lamb and cut 3-4 deep slashes into the skin (serving side).
  2. Spice Rub: Mix all the ingredients together in a container. Rub the mixture into the lamb pressing it deep into the cuts.
  3. To Cook: Fill the bottom of a large steamer with water so it comes half wayto the top, cover it and bring to the boil. Place baking paper in the top half of a steamer,lay the corriander and mint leaves on it and scatter the apricots over the herbs. Place the lamb in the steamer, cover and leave for 60-90 minutes over a steady low simmer. The amount of time steamed depends on how you like your lamb cooked and the size of the leg. When the meat is ready remove it while still in the top half of the steamer and place on a chopping board. The lid should be left on to keep the lamb warm while you prepare the sauce and couscous.
  4. Sauce: Place the oil in a suacepan over a moderate to high heat. When it is hot add the onions and sweat them for 2 minutes, then add the garlic, ginger, and cumin powder and cook fo about 30 secons. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, and cooking liquid and leave it to simmer for 10 minutes, until you have a thick sauce.
  5. Couscous: Place the cous cous in a large bowl and pour over 500ml of the boiling cooking liquid and cover the bowl with cling film and leave it to steam for 10 minutes. Test the couscous it should be tender but if not add a little more stock and recover. Remove the dried apricots from the steamer and roughly chop. Add them to the couscous along with the sultanas, cashew nuts, herbs and seasoning. Mix the couscous so that the ingredients are well distributed. Set aside while you slice the lamb
  6. To Serve: Slice the lamb and serve accompanied by the couscous and sauce. Place the lamb on 1 side.