Saturday, May 19, 2012

Vegetable Tagine

A colleague at work made a wonderful vegetable curry this week and brought it to work for lunch, so my Columbian friend was the inspiration I needed to go home and do something with vegetables.

If I had taken curry into work, it would have seemed like I was competing, although I wasn't, OK maybe just a little bit, but I didn't want to make curry anyway. Who wants to eat the same things two days running ? Certainly not me. So, I remembered I had some sumac in the cupboard that I bought a while ago and came across the other day unopened, and I had already made a mental note to use it; Here was the opportunity. I could make a vegetable tagine!

I didn't have the time to go searching a recipe, so I googled one and found a great recipe here: When I looked closer at the blog, it seems that the writer of this blog is UK-based, and is just an hour away from me. Small world huh ?

The recipe made an amazing tagine: here 's a piccie to whet your appetite.
My modifications are next to the original in italics


  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped I used one red and one white and they weren't that finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped - I used 2 large ones, 1 small
  • 1/2 a large butternut squash, peeled and diced - I used a whole small one
  • 1 red pepper, large dice - I didn't have any, so I left it out
  • 2 medium carrots, large dice
  • substitute other vegetables as desired, eg spinach, chard, courgette, etc - I used some kale- about a handful; one parsnip; a handful of green beans;; half an aubergine.
  • 1 can plum tomatoes
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • 50g (1/2 cup) dried apricot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon each: cumin, paprika, cinnamon, cayenne/chilli powder, chilli flakes and harissa (North African chilli sauce – optional)
  • 2 teaspoons each: ras el hanout and za’atar or sumac (If you don’t have any of these North African spices in your cupboards, a teaspoon each of thyme and oregano would imitate za’atar, a squeeze of lemon juice will give a sourness like sumac and a teaspoon of mixed spice gives some of the flavours of ras el hanout. Or add 1 tsp of each if you have them all.)  I was out of ras el hanout, I had had some, but it was out of date, so I had thrown it away. Instead I used a little bit of nutmeg as I had no mixed spice.
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Mix the dry spices together and divide in half. Mix half the spices with the diced squash and a bit of olive oil, place on a tray in the oven and cook until softened and starting to brown, about 20-30 minutes.
  2. While the squash is cooking, soften the onion in a bit of butter or olive oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the rest of the spices, the other chopped vegetables and garlic, stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the canned tomatoes, honey, dried apricots and stock, heat until boiling.
  5. Reduce the heat and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes until the vegetables have cooked and the sauce has reduced slightly.
  6. Add the roasted squash and chickpeas, stir to combine and heat through for another 3-5 minutes. 
The veggie website recommends that you serve this with couscous, but I was taking this to work so I had it with some bread on the side to dip into the lovely juices. This was an amazing, spicy and healthy dish. The roasted squash which is added at the end, means the squash retains its texture and it's strong spicing. The chickpeas give you  plenty of protein, so no need to add meat. Also, you can use any vegetables that you have to hand.

I hope you like it - I will definitely be making this again very soon.

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