The history of Moroccan tagine is always highly debated. One of theories is that tagine was first introduced in Morocco by the Phoenicians who visited the area in the 12th century. There is another theory however that attributes it to the Tonac civilisation that lived in Mexico between 800 and 600BC. This theory based its assumption on the statuette of Al Tagin, the god of rain of that civilisation. However, the most plausible evidence attributed it to North Africa and its first settler’s, the Berber.
More than any other dish, I consider the tagine the most important and popular Moroccan dish. As Moroccans, we believe that no other country’s dish has reached the exalted height of the Moroccan Tagine. The Tagine is aromatic, stimulating fragrant, zesty, and can be spicy or sweet. It is known for being an inviting dish due to its savoury ingredients, which may include, depending on the genre of the Tagine, lamb or poultry stew, almonds, and hard-boiled eggs. These ingredients when mixed with others, and when cooked in the clay plate and covered with a cone-shaped clay top, produce an enticing aroma that compares to no other and reminds me of my childhood.
I was blessed and honoured to learn how to cook this special dish in my mother’s kitchen. Her kitchen was full of love, aromas and passion when she was preparing some of the most famous Moroccan dishes. She combined specialities and flavours of the Mediterranean, Arabic, Andalusian and Berber cuisines and that is what inspired me now as a chef to create this irresistible Moroccan dish.
How to make it
Recipe serves 10
- Baby Lamb Leg 1000gm
- Fresh Chopped Onion 200gm
- Iranian Saffron 10gm
- Ras Al Hanout Powder 50gm
- Ginger Powder 50gm
- White Pepper Powder 20gm
- Salt 25gm
- Butter 50gm
- Dried Prunes 100gm
- Dried Apricot 100gm
- Sesame Seeds 15gm
- Boiled Quail Egg 75gm
- In a deep pot, saute the lamb with butter and chopped onions.
- Add the saffron, ginger, ras al hanout and glaze for few minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper and add the lamb stock till meat is cover.
- Cover the pot and cook for 45 minutes.
- After meat is cooked remove and reduce the sauce with adding some butter.
- Serve with caramelised prunes, apricot and boiled quail egg.
— Adil Mabchour is the chef de cuisine at Armani Hotel Dubai.