Couscous with watermelon or muskmelon

A traditional North-African family dish, usually prepared on Fridays.


  1. Couscous is made in a special way. Use whole grain semolina that takes longer time to prepare. Couscous is steamed in a special two-part vessel (couscoussière, but a colander and a stockpot can be used instead) for about 45 minutes, with the addition of butter or olive oil.

  2. Fluff it with your hands and then put it back on the steam for 30 minutes.

  3. Then again fluff with your hands, with the addition of butter, raisins and salt to taste. Leave it on the steam briefly and then let it cool down to room temperature.

  4. During this time boil chunks of watermelon or cantaloupe for 15 minutes over low heat.

  5. Couscous is served while it’s still warm, on a large round or oval platter, most often shaped in the form of a pyramid.

  6. Pour over the water in which you cooked watermelon or cantaloupe. Place pieces of watermelon or cantaloupe at the top and/or on a side. Fruit can also be served separately.

  7. You can sprinkle the cumin powder for garnish and to improve the taste.

  • Ingreedients: 6
  • Number of persons: 5
  • Non-available ingredients
  • Glavno jelo
  • Tunis
  • Complexity: Jednostavno
  • Author: Reda
  • This recipe has been published in the cookbook Taste of Home.


  • 2 kg couscous
  • 125-250 g butter or 2 dl olive oil
  • water
  • watermelon or cantaloupe cut into pieces
  • salt
  • cumin

About author

Reda ate his favourite dish, couscous with watermelon, last time with his family on 17th June 2011, the day before he left his country. This was the last time he saw his mother. In fear of political persecution because of his political opinions and religious beliefs, he left Tunisia and came to Croatia via Turkey. He thought he had come to Italy. When he first applied for asylum, he was rejected. That happened two months before he would have the right to work. Now he requested asylum for the second time and hopes it will be granted. He would like to stay in Croatia and learn Croatian language. He feels safe here. Reda is a professional chef and loves cooking, scents, flavours, colours. He is involved in a variety of culinary workshops and presentations of Arab culinary specialties. He believes that he has many options in Croatia.

- At home, we eat each out of his own plate after the prayer in the mosque on Fridays. At celebrations everyone eats from a common large plate. Family generally eats together, as mother insists. In some other families people eat separately. The last time I saw my mother, we ate couscous. Now I see her sometimes on Skype, but that’s not enough.

I've made couscous here several times, for a garden party at the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation and for a photographer who worked on the exhibition about traditional cuisine of Maghreb. Many times during Ramadan I made couscous in Porin, a shelter for asylum seekers. Ramadan is a very special to us, we want to taste the flavours of Ramadan and tastes of our home. We often cooked with people from Cameroon... It created contacts between us, a great way to communicate.

I do not like a lot of Croatian food, I tried ćevapi. They are excellent with lepinja, ajvar and onion. I've tried them before, in Germany. I haven’t seen a restaurant that specializes in Croatian cuisine. In Porin we usually eat rice with vegetables. On weekends we do not get a cooked meal, but a bag with bread and tuna.

I can not go back to my country, and this is no joke. I want to stay here, I think I have a lot of opportunities, especially with cooking. Here, life is normal and people are good. Many people speak English and German and I have no difficulty in communication. But I'll have to learn Croatian if I stay here.


About country


The northernmost African country has had many names until its final independence in 1956. Part of the territory, formerly known as Carthage, was a great enemy of the Roman Empire. In January 2011 the revolution began and overthrew the long-lived dictatorship of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The situation in Tunisia began to improve. Condition of human rights progressed in comparison to the previous period, but that did not last. Shortly after the revolution it was clear that the new government follows the patterns of the old regime when it comes to control of the media and freedom of speech, as many journalists, bloggers, artists and intellectuals were persecuted and sentenced to prison terms for their peaceful activities, and often there are suspicions of torture after their detention. Recently, a number of terrorist attacks and police attacks on the civilian population were recorded.

Annually, 1.7 per thousand inhabitants leave Tunisia.