Maftoul with mussels

This seafood recipe by chef, Ravinder Bhogal, reminds us of lazy lunches by the beach. Enjoy with hunks of toasted bread to mop up the tasty tomato sauce.


  • 250ml dry white wine
  • 1 kg mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 tablespoon Zaytoun extra virgin olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 1 small fennel bulb, diced
  • 2 sticks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots finely diced
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, roughly crushed
  • a generous pinch of saffron
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 200ml passata
  • 150g Zaytoun giant couscous maftoul, roasted on a hot dry pan until toasty for a nuttier flavour
  • 1/2  teaspoon pul biber
  • 750ml fish or vegetable stock
  • handful of finely chopped coriander
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped tarragon


  1. Bring the wine to the boil in a large pan and then add the mussels. Cover and cook until they have opened up – this shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes. Drain the mussels in a colander over a large heatproof bowl; reserve the cooking liquid and set both aside.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in same pan over medium heat; cook the onion, fennel, celery and carrot, stirring until softened.
  3. Add the fennel seeds, pul biber, and a fat pinch of saffron along with the lemon zest and stir briefly until fragrant.
  4. Add the passata and maftoul and cook, stirring, for 1 minute before pouring in the stock and reserved cooking liquor from the mussels and wine. Bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook, partially covered, for 10 minutes or until the maftoul is tender.
  5. Return the mussels to pan and cook, uncovered for a minute till the mussels are warmed through.
  6. Stir in the fresh herbs and lemon juice and serve with hunks of toasted bread.

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