Prawn salad with pearl couscous


A zesty Asian-style salad that just screams ‘summer’, this recipe can of course be enjoyed at any time of the year, whenever you feel like the refreshing flavours of lime, cucumber and fresh herbs. If you prefer, replace the prawns with chargrilled squid or poached chicken.

I’ve used pearl couscous here–a large, round couscous–because of its slightly chewy texture and its ability to soak up the lovely flavours of the dressing. It’s sometimes called Israeli couscous or moghrabieh; look for it in delis or Middle Eastern supermarkets.


  • 40 g ( oz/¼ cup) pearl couscous
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 12 large (500 g/1 lb 2 oz) cooked prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined, tails left intact
  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 long red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 Lebanese (short) cucumber, finely diced
  • 1 handful mint leaves
  • 1 handful coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • 1 handful Thai basil leaves


Put the pearl couscous in a small saucepan and pour in the boiling water. Cover the pan and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and drain.

Put the sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and vinegar in a bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the prawns, tomato, chilli, lime leaves and couscous. Toss to combine, then set aside for a few minutes to allow the prawns and couscous to absorb some of the flavours.

Add the cucumber and fresh mint, coriander and Thai basil. Toss once more before dividing between two bowls.