This Moroccan style lamb tagine celebrates all the great ingredients Moroccan cuisine is famous for. It has a variety of dry fruits, aromatic spices, and olive oil, slow-cooked with lamb producing a delicious pot of food with great flavours but without overpowering your palate.
Succulent lamb slow-cooked with a variety of dry fruits and aromatic spices, and served on a bed of couscous making it an authentic combo meal! This is one of the finest dishes from Morocco that I am sure you’ll fall in love with!
Moroccan cuisine, one of the most celebrated cuisines in the world, is an amalgamation of various culinary cultures. Due to it’s location in North Africa, the cooking style is largely a mix of Mediterranean and Arabic cuisines. This cuisine also shows influence of Spanish cuisines from the era of colonial settlements.
Traditional tagine dishes are cooked in clay pots with conical lids. These conical lids capture steam from the cooking pot, and circulate it back as water. This helps reduce the amount of water required for cooking. This technique helps save water in geographies where it’s a scarce resource.
My take on the Moroccan style lamb tagine
In this recipe, I have used an earthen (baked clay) pot. I had to compromise on the lid as I couldn’t get hold of a traditional conical clay one. I have used as much authentic ingredients as possible. A couple of ingredients – argan oil and saffron doesn’t feature in this recipe, just because I couldn’t get hold of any! That, however, hasn’t compromised the flavours. It’s still very close to the Moroccan lamb tagines that I have tasted before.
Try this recipe, and I am sure you’ll love it. Gathering and prepping the ingredients could take time, but once you have setup everything cooking is easy, and it’ll be a guaranteed success!
Moroccan Style Lamb Tagine
- 1/2 kg lamb small to medium pieces
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon ground
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger grated
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 20 almonds flaked
- 6 apricots cut into halves
- 3 dates
- 2 tablespoon raisins
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium onions grated
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 4 medium tomatoes finely chopped
- 250 ml tomato juice
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 300 ml water
- salt to taste
- coriander to garnish
- Let's start by prepping the ingredients. Wash and drain the lamb pieces. Cut apricots and dates (remove the stones) into halves/quarters. Flake the almonds - blanch them in boiling water for a couple of minutes. Drain the water, and while they are hot, remove the skins by pressing them. Slice to small pieces.
- Mix together the spice mix ingredients including grated ginger. Add half of this mixture to the lamb pieces in a bowl, and mix well until all the pieces are coated uniformly. Cover the bowl, and keep this to marinate. For best results marinate in the fridge overnight. If you don't have that luxury of time, try to marinate at least for 30-45 minutes.
- Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a clay pot. Add grated onions, and the remaining spice mix. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes on a medium flame stirring frequently. Add garlic (crush them with your palm or the flat side of a knife) and cook for another 5 minutes on a low flame.
- Simultaneously heat a frying pan, coat with a tablespoon olive oil, and pan-fry the lamb pieces. Brown the meat evenly on all sides.
- Transfer the lamb pieces to the clay pot and mix well with the onion-spice mixture.
- Add dry fruits and chopped tomatoes to the pot.
- Use the tomato juice to deglaze the pan in which we fried the lamb pieces, and add it to the cooking pot. Add salt, honey, mix well, and bring to boil on a high flame. Now reduce to a low flame, close the lid, and slow cook for an hour. Open the lid and stir occasionally. The lamb pieces should be cooked to tender, that they start to fall off from the bone. Cook further for enhanced flavours.
- Garnish with some chopped coriander leaves, and serve hot. For an authentic experience, serve with couscous. Alternatively you can enjoy this lamb tagine with rice or bread.
- If you can't source cayenne pepper and/or paprika, replace them with chilli powder and Kashmiri chilli powder
- Flake the almonds by blanch them in boiling water for a couple of minutes. Drain the water, and while they are still hot, remove the skins by pressing them, and slice to small pieces.
Planning to try this recipe this weekend but I’m afraid of cooking in a clay tagine. Won’t it crack on an open flame? Did you directly place the pot on the flame??
Hello Yashodhara, thank you for visiting my blog. I couldn’t get hold of a tagine. So I used a regular clay pot. It won’t crack in an open flame. Even if you are using a proper clay tagine, it won’t crack when you start with a medium-low heat.
Sounds delicious – what a great combo of spices with the apricots!
Thank you Caitlin. It tastes delicious too 🙂
You should give it a try!