Vegetable tagine, the most versatile dish
I have eaten so many vegetable tagine during my Moroccan travels, and they were always different. Depending on location, locale produce, and time of the year. It is a very common and popular dish, especially in the mountains with the Berber communities. It is such a versatile dish, you can pretty much create according your likings.
So, let’s have a look at this recipe. I have used vegetables which are easy to get here, and very often used in Morocco. Such as, carrot, turnip, potato and courgette. I have used onions and tomato as my base ingredients to layer on the bottom of the tagine, this is in general a very common practice. Furthermore I have chosen to use Chermoula in this recipe, because for me the use of chermoula gives so much extra depth and flavour to the tagine. But chermoula is definitely not a ‘must have’ ingredient in a vegetable tagine. Most often it is not used. As a bit of a sweetener I have used a good handful of raisins, and I stuffed some mint sprigs in the middle of the tagine, so during the cooking process these lovely aromas slowly travel through the tagine.
What is chermoula
Chermoula (or Charmoula) is a marinade mixture made of spices, and herbs. Such as; Garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric, saffron, paprika, black pepper, fresh coriander, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil. This marinade is most often used as a marinade for fish, or fish tagine. But it work beautifully as well with vegetables.
I am very pleased with this particular recipe creation. The pure vegetable flavours are still very present (use the freshest ingredients possible). While the chermoula gives it a spiced and herby layer of flavours. The tomato provides the juiciness, and the raisins are softened and balance the spices. So easy and so delicious! A great dish to enjoy with friends. You can prepare the tagine ahead, and leave it to simmer while hosting your friends. Followed by the great experience of having one large tagine in the middle of the table, and all tuck in with some home-made khobz.
I often see non-Moroccan cultures eating tagine with couscous, but traditionally these dishes are never mixed in Morocco. All though in general I am all for mixing & matching different cultural foods, but in this case the mix doesn’t agree with me.
But of course feel free to do what ever you want to do, and make sure you enjoy it! 🙂
Even though it is probably safer to use a fixed recipe the first times you are making your own tagine. Once you understand the cooking process, and the use of flavours you can become your own tagine recipe developer, and create your signature tagine. Use ingredients such as;
- Vegetables; Carrot, courgette, turnip, parsnip, potato, paprika, green beans, peas, aubergine, pumpkin, artichoke, sweet potato, chickpeas, lentils, beans, tomato, onion. Etc.
- Sweetness; Dried apricot, prunes, raisins, dates, figs
- Herbs; Coriander, Mint, Parsley.
- Spices; cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ginger, paprika, coriander, saffron, mace, cloves, fennel, anise, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, fenugreek, caraway, black pepper. Etc.
- Toasted nuts; Almonds, pistachio, walnuts, pine nuts.
- Other common used flavours; olives, preserved lemon.
It’s all about getting the balance between the flavours just right. As you can see the possibilities are endless, you can pretty much use whatever you like. But at the same time I do want to acknowledge that the best tagines I have tasted were the most simple ones with only very few ingredients but of extreme freshness and quality. So go as much as possible for seasonal, local produce.
I hope I have motivated you in making your own tagines. If you don’t have a clay tagine pot, you can use a cask iron pot instead. But it is definitely worthwhile to hunt for a proper clay tagine pot, it does make a huge difference in texture and flavour distribution. They don’t have to cost much.
I would love to see your tagine creations, please add @haricoco1 to your instagram posts, so we can share our experiences.
Some other Moroccan recipes on this site;
This vegetable tagine recipe is part of my ‘Travels of taste‘ series. Using our taste buds to travel the world, discover other cultures through food. So today we find ourselves in Morocco. If you are ready to imagine yourself walking around in the hustle & bustle of the souks, and indulge in all its flavours. Check out my full Moroccan ‘travels of taste’ post; >>> Morocco – the flavours of the souks.