Try a tagine for tenderness - recipes

By Angela Day Time of article published Jun 4, 2016

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Angela Day


A tagine is a North African dish named after the earthenware pot it is cooked in.

The tagine’s conical shape makes a uniquely moist, hot cooking environment for the dish being cooked.

The base is wide and shallow, and the tall lid fits snugly inside. It is filled with meat, dried fruit and vegetables and a small amount of liquid and left to cook for a few hours on a slow heat, producing a meltingly tender stew.

The conical lid allows steam to circulate during cooking, which then creates condensation that drips back onto the meat, keeping the food moist.

Some tagines are designed for the oven or stove-top, while others are simply used as decorative serving dishes.

Bring the tagine to room temperature before cooking – if you place a cold tagine, especially an unglazed earthenware tagine, on a hot surface it can crack.

Never place a tagine directly on to a hob, always use a diffuser underneath or your tagine will shatter.

Lightly cook the onion and spices. Add the meat and pour over the liquid, then cover with the lid. Place in the oven or leave it to cook on the stove-top. Since the tagine creates steam as it cooks, you don’t need to add too much liquid to the dish.

You don’t have to have a tagine to make these stews, you can either use a slow cooker or an oven-proof casserole.


Fish Tagine

Serves 4


30ml olive oil

15ml chopped garlic

15ml ground cumin

5ml paprika

125ml chopped coriander

5ml salt

rind and juice of one lemon

600g firm white fish portions


30ml olive oil

1 onion, sliced

1 green pepper, diced

5ml chopped garlic

5ml ground cumin

5ml ground coriander

400g can of chopped tomatoes

375ml fish stock

250g baby potatoes

100g stuffed olives

salt and pepper

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade and mix well.

Coat the fish portions in the marinade and set aside for about an hour.

Sauce: Heat the oil and gently fry the onion, green pepper and garlic until soft.

Add the cumin and coriander and fry for a few seconds.

Add the tomatoes, stock and potatoes and simmer until the potatoes are soft.

Add the fish portions with their marinade to the sauce with the stuffed olives and simmer very gently until the fish is cooked.

This will take about 10 minutes.

Serve with rice or couscous.


Chicken Tagine

Serves 4

15ml olive oil

8 chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed

2 onions, halved and thinly sliced

10ml chopped garlic

10ml ground cumin

10ml ground coriander

400g canned diced tomatoes

500ml chicken stock

pinch saffron

100g dried apricots

1 stick cinnamon

fresh coriander, almonds and pomegranate rubies to serve

Over a medium heat, fry the chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden. Transfer to a plate.

Add the onion, garlic and spices and fry for 3-4 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, stock, saffron, apricots and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer.

Return the chicken, skin-side up and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 30 minutes until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

Uncover and cook for 15 minutes until sauce thickens.

Top with coriander, toasted almonds and pomegranate.

Serve with couscous.



The Angela Day cookery column is published in The Star, the Cape Argus, the Daily News and the Pretoria News.

* For household queries, recipes and tips, call The Angela Day Helpline at 011 836 7181 from 8.30am to 12.30pm weekdays, or e-mail Janice at [email protected]

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