I have been interested in exploring Mediterranean , Middle Eastern and African cuisines after discovering the number of vegetarian dishes they contain. The usage of yogurt and vegetables like aubergines, tomatoes and the different spices…very interesting. And flavourful. And quite close to being Indian as well… I’ve cooked couple of Mediterranean stews and dishes before, but never ventured into Morocco, which is North African, but very similar to Mediterranean method of cooking.
Moroccan Tagine curry has been on the To-Do list for a while now, and the couscous that I bought a long time ago was literally begging to be cooked. I read up on the internet for a couple of Tagine curry recipes, but did not find ONE recipe which would suit my requirements. So I adapted this recipe from the two links – This & This.
Tagine curry derives its name from the earthen pot that the curry is cooked in and are predominantly meat-based. However, I resorted to using Chickpeas, rich sources of protein, along with other vegetables, and cooked them all very slowly in my regular pan.
Honestly, I’ll call this a stew but with a distinct Moroccan flavour, attributed to the use of the Ras-el-hanout spice mix. I made this spice mix runtime while cooking the curry, and now plan to use this in other curry/stew preparations. This entire dish took me an hour to put together, but then I was clicking photographs of the food for the major part of this hour… ;-) If planned in advance, this can be done in exactly 30 mins, perfect for a weeknight dinner.
Ras-el-hanout Spice Mix
Recipe Courtesy – Bon Appetit
1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Toast coriander and cumin seeds in a small pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until aromatic.
Once this cools, add crushed red pepper flakes and grind in a mixer-grinder.
Add remaining ingredients.
Mix again to blend.
Tagine Curry [Serves 2]
Chickpeas – 1/2 C, pressure cooked before hand
Onions – 1 large, diced fine
Carrots – 1/2 C, diced/julienned
Tomatoes – 3 , medium sized, cut in inch sized cubes
Aubergines – 2, small sized , cut in inch sized cubes
Veg stock or hot water – 2 C
Lemon zest – taken from 1/4 lemon
Ginger – 1 Tbsp, peeled, chopped
Salt – To taste
Ras-el-hanout spice mix – 5 tsps
Garlic cloves – 5, diced fine
Cinnamon Stick – 1, broken in half
Olive oil – 2 Tbsp
Black pepper – 1 Tbsp
Almonds – 6, toasted and blanched
Coriander leaves – a bunch, finely chopped
Heat the oil in a large pan. Sauté onions with salt and pepper for about 5 min.
Add chopped garlic, one tsp of Ras-el-Hanout, and ginger. Stir for 1 minute.
Add chick peas, carrots and aubergine pieces, zest and sauté. Add the cinnamon stick. Add another tsp of the spice mix.
Add tomatoes with the juices.
Bring to a boil. Add rest of the spice mix.
Now add 2 cups stock.
Add coriander leaves .
Return to a boil, reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are cooked.
Season with salt and pepper as required.
Serve with couscous, garnished with chopped coriander and almonds.
Couscous [Serves 2]
Couscous – 1 C
Veg stock/Hot water – 1.5 C
Butter – 1 Tbsp
Saffron – a pinch
Ground cardamom – a pinch
Place the couscous, saffron, cardamom and butter in a bowl . Pour the hot water or stock over the couscous and close the lid of the bowl. Let this stay for 10-15 min, till couscous is tender. If it is still firm, add some more water.
Fluff it with a fork and serve.