I learnt how to make this tagine at La Sultana Hotel in Marrakech. They have a rooftop kitchen from which they hold cooking classes, so I spent a morning learning how to make a berber lamb tagine and zalouk salad during my recent trip. This recipe makes an excellent lamb tagine with fresh vegetables which works very nicely served with the zalouk salad or some couscous to make a generous meal. It gets its name from the Berber people native to this part of Morocco.
The method here is exactly as I was shown how to make it, and it is made using a slice of lamb leg, cut through the bone. Feel free to use pre-prepared, cubed leg of lamb instead. If you don’t have a tagine, you can use a lidded casserole dish, and either cook this on the hob or in the oven. This tagine is made in the traditional Moroccan way, where the meat is not browned and is cooked slowly in water, before adding the vegetables towards the end. It is important to get the presentation of the vegetables right at the end, for a truly authentic finish.
Zalouk is a truly delicious cold aubergine dish that is eaten like a salad with a tagine. It is an ideal dish to prepare in advance as the flavours just improve over time.
If you do not have a gas hob to chargrill the aubergine, which is the most authentic way of preparing it, you can place the aubergine on a non-stick baking tray into the oven on the hottest setting, for around 20 minutes until the skin is blistered and the flesh is very soft.
Both recipes serve 1 very generously, but simply multiply the ingredients by however many people you are cooking for when making these recipes at home.
- 1 medium aubergine
- 1 large tomato
- 2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and very finely grated
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Chargrill the aubergine over a gas flame until the skin blisters and the skin is soft. This can be done in the oven if you have no gas flame (see the introduction).
- When the aubergine is tender, transfer it carefully – using metal tongs – into a large bowl of cold water, to take the heat out.
- Meanwhile, peel the tomato and remove the seeds. Chop the flesh finely. Next, dry the aubergine. Peel the skin, cut off the stalk and chop the flesh very finely. Ensure no skin remains attached to the flesh.
- Place the oil in a small frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the aubergine, tomato and garlic and stir fry for a few minutes. Add the spices and salt and stir. Continue to cook, bubbling away, but not sticking or burning for around 10 minutes until the aubergine is cooked. Taste and check the seasoning. Allow to cool and serve either warm, if you’re short of time, or cold.
- Once made, the zalouk will keep covered in the fridge for five days until required.
- ½ red onion, peeled and finely chopped
- ½ cm thick slice fresh ginger, peeled and grated finely
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and grated finely
- 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 400g piece lamb leg, bone in
- 1 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp dried ginger
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Roughly 300ml boiling water
- 1 medium carrot, peeled
- 1 small courgette
- 2 new potatoes
- 8 green beans, topped and tailed
- Place the onion, ginger, and garlic into a pan with the olive oil. Cook until fragrant and the onion is translucent. Add the lamb to the pan and cover with boiling water and bring to the boil.
- When the liquid is boiling, either turn the heat to low and simmer gently for two hours, or bake in a preheated oven, either in a casserole dish or tagine, lid on, for two hours at 160C/ Gas Mark 3. Check on the tagine every half hour or so, to be sure it doesn’t dry out. If the liquid is evaporating quickly, top it up with a little more boiling water.
- Whilst the lamb is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Cut the carrot into batons, halving it lengthways. Take the courgette, top and tail and cut in half lengthways, then cut off four thick long slices, which cut the flesh and skin away from the watery core. Discard the core. Peel the potatoes and cut them in half. Place all the prepared vegetables and the green beans into a bowl with fresh, cold water, to keep them crisp until they are required.
- When the lamb is tender, add the vegetables to the tagine and cook for around 15-20 minutes until they are tender.
- Serve the tagine hot – in the tagine dish if you have it. The authentic Moroccan way of presenting he tagine is to put the meat at the centre of the tagine dish, and carefully arrange the vegetables around the dish. They should be placed standing upright facing in a cone-like shape towards the centre of the dish. Alternate the vegetables to create an attractive appearance.