Tagine is Morocco’s best-known dish: a slow-cooked stew in a large clay pot with a conical lid. This design allows the steam that evaporates from the food to drip down back into themselves, so to retain its juices.
Although tagine literally means this kind of clay pot, we don’t have to use a tagine pot to cook this tagine dish. With a few tricks, a regular clay pot or just a pot will bring us a pretty close result. The vegetables are tender(slow-cook), yet chunky(chop big), absorb the essences of the exotic spices mixed with cumin, coriander and turmeric, develop a balanced taste between sweet (dried apricots or raisins) and a little spicy (chili or harissa), hit the taste-buds with a fresh twist of lemon and parsley.
Again, you can use almost any kind of vegetables in this dish. My combination with pumpkin and sweet potato make my version a little sweet. They can be replaced by zucchini, eggplant or any other things you prefer. Serve the tagine as the Moroccans do – over couscous, or like me – with flat-bread to dip in the rich sauce.
1 onion, 1 sweet potato, 1 red bell paprika (all medium sized), big chunk of pumpkin and radish, all roughly chopped
half stalk leek, cut into 2-3 pieces
half cup(100g) of dried chickpeas, cooked
3 garlic cloves, a 1cm chunk ginger, chopped
0.5L veggie stock
lemon and parsley
10 salted olives
5 dried apricots, sliced
1 tspn cumin powder
half tspn (each) coriander, chili and turmeric powder
salt and pepper, olive oil
1. Heat olive oil in a clay pot on medium heat, sauté the onion for several minutes until soft. Add garlic, ginger and all the other powder spices, give a quick stir.
2. Add pumpkin, sweet potato, radish, paprika and leek, squeeze in half of a lemon juice, stir around for a few minutes before the veggies turning brown. Add the olives, apricots and cooked chickpeas, pour in the stock until the veggies are almost covered. Season with salt and pepper. Turn on low heat, put the lid on. Let it slow-cook for at least 30 minutes. Stir gently 1-2 times in between.
3. Turn off the heat. The vegetables are still in good shapes, but getting nicely tender and we don’t want to crush them. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and lemon zest, serve the tagine with Greek yogurt over couscous.