Tagine or Tajine is a North African and Middle Eastern dish and is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. It usually involves meat or fish but a vegetarian version is also very popular among many. Tagine pot was first mentioned in the famous Arabic story collection from the 9th century - One Thousand and One Nights.
A tagine pot consists of 2 parts. A circular base that is flat with low sides and a large cone that sits on this base during cooking. The conical shape of the cover is designed to help to return all the condensation to the bottom. I don't own a Tagine pot and I'm sure many of you won't as well. Don't fret - a heavy based non-stick pot with a tight lid will work just as well.
Ingredients (for 4)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pounded
150gm Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into medium sized chunks
150gm Eggplants, cut into large chunks
1/2 a tin (200gm) diced petit tomatoes (Hunt's)
1/2 red bell pepper
1 tin (400gm) chickpeas, drained
1 cup (200ml) vegetable broth
A small bunch of coriander leaves
A small bunch of mint leaves, extra for garnishing
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 and 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli flakes (optional for those who need that extra heat)
1/2 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1) Get all the ingredients ready.
2) Before preparing all the vegetables, rinse and cook the quinoa in a small pot till the water is absorbed. I have used a tri colour quinoa but a white quinoa will do as well. Instead of water, use veg broth for a flavor enhanced quinoa.
3) Take a medium sized heavy based pot and heat the EV Olive Oil. Fry the chopped onion and garlic for a 3-5 mins.
4) Add in the butternut squash chunks. Add a few tbsps of water, stir and cover. This is to ensure the squash chunks don't stick to the base. Let it simmer and cook for 5-7 mins.
5) Next add in the spice powders and salt.
6) This will be followed by the diced tomatoes, eggplants, bell pepper, coriander and mint leaves. Stir and let it cook on medium heat for 5 mins. I am amazed by the vibrantly beautiful red green colour of this dish. And these photos didn't involve any filtering whatsoever.
7) Add in the veg broth and chickpeas. Stir and cover and let the Tagine simmer undisturbed for 10mins on low heat.
8) Serve on a bed of quinoa (or brown rice) garnished with mint leaves. Top it off with more chilli flakes, if required.