I have been meaning to make and share a tagine recipe of mine with you for ages, but something always seems to have taken over. But the good thing being, this is an all-year all-rounder, and can be enjoyed anytime your heart desires. This is a rich tagine, with long-lingering flavors, that will bring to life each and every taste bud you have – you’ll also realize you have more of them than you thought. I love the aroma that emerges from this, and the taste, flavors, texture, and colors of this recipe, for me, are a celebration of nature’s kind gift to us, with all its wonderful vegetables, herbs, and spices. And they all come together here to dance their dance, in the hope that you will enjoy the display that waits, just beneath your wonderful nose. It’s something between a mild but full flavored curry, and a heavenly chutney. It’s the texture that stirs it one way and the other. A very exciting dish, and a great treat for non-vegans who love a little spice.

Mouthwatering Moroccan-Style Tagine [Vegan]

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Serves

4

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Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for frying veggies
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into one-inch squares
  • 1 medium-sized eggplant/aubergine, cut into half inch squares
  • 3 shallots
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 sundried tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon date syrup
  • Salt to taste (taste before you add, in case it’s salty enough with the sun-dried tomatoes)
  • 2 cup water (you may well need more depending on the consistency you prefer, but add it one cup at a time, and stir it in each time)
  • Fresh coriander to garnish
  • 2 large dates
  • 1 sweet orange (important it’s not tart), freshly squeezed
  • 15-20 dried apricots

For the Spicy Couscous:

  • 7-ounces wholewheat couscous
  • 7-ounces boiling water
  • A knob of vegan butter (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, each cut into 2 to 3 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon harissa (Tunisian hot chili sauce)
  • 4 Tbsp water
   
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Preparation

  1. In a food processor, process the onion, garlic, and spices (except the turmeric and cinnamon stick) with your olive oil, until you have a little paste. Then add the sundried tomatoes, and continue to pulse for a few seconds.
  2. Next, drizzle olive oil into a large non-stick pan, and start frying your potatoes and eggplant.  Turn around when these have turned golden, and repeat the process (the vegetables can be baked until a little tender, then add to the tagine, and cook as described below).
  3. Now add the onion mix from the processor to the potatoes and eggplant mix, together with the cinnamon stick and the turmeric, and allow all this mixture to fry into the vegetables, so that all the spices and their flavors are released into the vegetables –  a wonderful aroma will begin to emerge.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients (except for the garnish), with the water one cup at a time, stirring in between 5-minute intervals). Cover the tagine, and place in a 340ºF (170ºC) oven for one hour.
  5. When you open the lid, the aroma will be wonderful.  Enjoy!  Garnish with fresh coriander.
  6. Serve with my Spicy Cous-Cous – see below.

For the Spicy Couscous:

  1. Place the couscous in a heat-proof glass bowl, and cover with the boiling water.
  2. Place a lid on top, and allow the couscous to absorb the water –  for around 6 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small non-stick saucepan, pour the olive oil, and fry the garlic for a minute or so (don’t burn it).
  4. Next, add the tomato paste, and harissa. Lower the heat, add the water, and allow to cook for 10 minutes, stirring so that it won’t stick or burn.
  5. You will be left with a thick sauce – don’t be discouraged at the quantity, as this is highly concentrated.
  6. Now remove the lid from the couscous, and pour the sauce over it. Fluff up with a fork, and garnish with orange pieces and freshly chopped parsley.
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