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Tasty Tajine Recipes That Won't Disappoint

Tajine was the first recipe I learned in Morocco. After three years of cooking this dish, I have perfected my methods and techniques.

What Is a Tajine?

The tajine is an essential piece of equipment in any Moroccan kitchen. Shaped like a tepee, the clay contraption traps air as the food cooks. The trapped air continues to circulate, keeping the meat juicy and the vegetables moist.

What Kind of Tajine Should You Use?

A Tajine Made of:Notes

Untreated clay

In my opinion, the best material for a tajine. Heat is distributed evenly and the clay gives a nice flavor. Be sure to soak the tajine for 24 hours before you use it. You only need to do this once. The soaking expands the clay and prevents cracking when you start to cook.

Treated clay

Most glazed tajines are for pure decoration. Many of them have intricate designs and patterns. However, look for the ones without designs. You can cook with these. No need to soak.

Metal

Metal is easiest to clean but heat is not distributed evenly. No unique flavor comes from the metal. No need to soak.

Prices

Small tajines can go for 30 Durhams. If you are looking for something medium-sized, expect to pay around 40. The large tajines cost about 60 Durhams. The price can change according to material and embellishments. A tajine with detailed decorations may be a bit more. Untreated clay is by far the cheapest material you can go with.

A Solid Base

Most tajines require a simple yet scrumptious base of onions, garlic, and spices. Without this foundation, flavors are lost and taste buds are disappointed. The trick is to let the spices cook with the onions.

So which spices do we pick? I use the basics for most of my tajine cooking: cumin, salt, black pepper, turmeric, ginger, paprika, and cayenne pepper.

Chicken Tajine With Preserved Lemons and Olives

This is one of my favorites. Chicken is seasoned with cumin, ginger, paprika, black pepper and turmeric and cooked over low heat. Preserved lemons simmer with the meat, giving it a slight citrus note. Green olives and french fries are used as a garnish.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: 30 minutes prep work. 1 hour cook time
  • Makes: Enough for three people

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 potato, cut into strips
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 6 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 8 to 10 pieces of cut chicken
  • olive oil
  • handful of green olives
  • 1 large/3 small preserved lemons
  • 3 medium onions, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Mix ginger, cumin, garlic, paprika, turmeric, a pinch of salt and pepper together. Rub the chicken with mixture and refrigerate. Let it sit 3 to 4 hours.
  2. In a frying pan, heat olive oil. Add the chicken.
  3. Once the chicken is browned on all sides, remove it from the heat.
  4. Saute onions in the tajine until they are lightly browned.
  5. Put the chicken on the onions and add the olives.
  6. Cut the preserved lemons into quarters. Take out the pulp and spread it over the chicken. Cut the skin of the preserved lemon into strips and place them in the tajine as well.
  7. Cover the tajine and let it simmer.
  8. Take the potato strips and fry them in oil. After the strips are cooked, add a pinch of salt.
  9. Once the tajine is done, place the French fries on top of the chicken.

Fish Tajine With Potatoes and Onions

Looking for a protein-packed, nutrient-filled meal? Pick up some red snapper at your local fish market and get started!

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: 30 minutes prep work, 1-1/2 hours cook time
  • Makes: Enough for three people

Ingredients

For the Marinade:

  • 3 tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • salt
  • paprika
  • cayenne pepper
  • black pepper
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • cumin

For the Tajine:

  • 1 pound white fish (cleaned and with bones)
  • 3 large potatoes
  • 4 large onions

Instructions

Step 1: Make the Marinade

  1. Saute the tomatoes in olive oil.
  2. Peel the garlic and chop the parsley and cilantro.
  3. Throw the tomatoes, garlic, parsley, cilantro, and all other ingredients into a food processor.
  4. Add the olive oil in a steady stream until the marinade is thick. You want a marinade that is not too watery and not too thick. Adjust the spices to your tastes. I always add a good amount of cayenne and black pepper.
  5. Take the fish and cover it with the marinade. To keep this recipe purely Moroccan, you want to make sure the fish is cleaned but with the bones intact. The fish should be chopped into medium sized hunks. Be sure to keep the head - it gives a nice flavor to the dish.
  6. Let the fish sit in the fridge for a day. I usually marinade it in the morning and then cook it at night.

Step 2: Assemble the Tajine

  1. Now its time to assemble the tajine.
  2. Dice 1 1/2 onions and 2 garlic cloves. Throw them into the tajine with olive oil, paprika, cumin, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Saute the onions until translucent. Cut onions into round, like you would slice for onion rings, and place them on top of the diced onions.
  4. Add the fish in the center and make sure you scrape all the delicious marinade out with a spatula. Place rounds of sliced potatoes on top of the fish.
  5. Sit back and let the tajine simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Check it after 45 minutes and see if you need to add more liquid. You can add either olive oil or some water.
  6. Once the potatoes are cooked through, let the tajine cool down and then eat up!

Kefta and Egg Tagine

If you like eggs, tomatoes, and ground meat, then this dish is perfect for you. It's very easy to make and an instant crowd-pleaser; guests will be begging for the recipe after the first bite.

What is kefta? Ground beef or lamb with spices and herbs. In Morocco, you can buy kefta with the spices already mixed in. I like to make my own. Some successful combinations include:

  • chopped onions + cumin +salt +black pepper + paprika
  • chopped onions + a pinch of cinnamon + ginger
  • chopped onions + salt + black pepper + fresh chopped parsley and cilantro

A Recipe for the Red Meat Lover

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: 30 minutes prep work, 30 minutes.
  • Makes: Enough for three people.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 kilogram kefta
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 eggs

Instructions

  1. Take the meat and add your spice mix to it (you can use a combination from the ones above).
  2. Roll the met into walnut sized balls.
  3. Heat olive oil in a tajine and add the chopped onion. Cook onions until translucent.
  4. Add the meatballs and brown them a bit.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree.
  6. Stir gently, cover and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Turn off the heat and crack the eggs on top. Don't stir the eggs. You want the yolks to still be intact.
  8. Wait a few minutes and let the egg cook through.
  9. Let it cool and then eat up!

Chickpea, Raisin and Vegetable Tajine

This goes to all my vegetarians out there. A vegetable tajine is probably the most versatile one out there. Why? Because there are so many veggie combinations you can try.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: 45 minutes prep work. 1 hour cook time.
  • Makes: Enough for 3 people

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chickpeas (soaked overnight)
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 onions
  • 1/2 kilogram pumpkin
  • handful of raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 large potato

Instructions

  1. Chop and an onion and the garlic. Place them in a tajine with olive oil, salt, black pepper, ginger, and cinnamon.
  2. Saute until onions are translucent.
  3. Cut the rest of the onions into thick rounds and place them on top of the cooked onions.
  4. Peel and cut the carrots into medium sized strips. Do the same with the potato.
  5. Place the carrots and potatoes in the center of the tajine in a tepee formation.
  6. Add chopped up pumpkin, raisins, and chickpeas to the tajine.
  7. Let it simmer for an hour. Taste the broth as you go. If you need to add more spices then throw more in. If the tajine needs more liquid, then add water or olive oil.

Comments

Adelia Maghribia (author) from Morocco on September 05, 2018:

They are my go to Moroccan dish. So easy to make and so delicious!

Liz Westwood from UK on September 05, 2018:

I like tajine dishes. You give good ideas for recipes here.