A Berbere vegetarian tajine

January 30th, 2013 § 4 comments

Berbere vegetarian tajine

So, cooking for Moroccan Quirky Friday was so much fun. Thanks to Christine and to those who joined in the fun and had a taste of my Moroccan cuisine! Special thanks too to my friend Sophie for being such a dedicated and talented sous-chef!

Many asked for the recipes of the tajines I cooked that evening…

Aside from an assortment of raw and cooked Moroccan salads with season vegetables (lentils – sweet potato – beet/carrot/orange), I prepared two tajines main: a Mchermel chicken tajine with preserved lemon (a bit like that one) and a Berbere vegetarian tajine. For dessert, there was a refreshing orange and pomegranate salade.

Berbere vegetarian Tajine

Moroccan eat a lot of vegetables but in general, they do like their meat and fish. Somehow mostly the ‘berbere tajines’ have a vegetarian version in restaurants (at home it’s another story). They usually include several season vegetables and often peas. Spices vary but paprika, ginger and turmeric are often used.

This is my winter version with a lot of winter root vegetables: carrots, turnip, celeriac and also butternut squash. For a touch of color, I added a bit of green beans and cherry tomatoes (which were actually coming from Morocco where they are in season now).

I can only encourage you but to make your own version and to use local and season’s vegetables. Just make sure you adapt the cooking time to the vegetables you use. One handy tip is to layer your vegetables so that the one who cook the longest are below.

Also, I love Luise’s 5 golden tips on how to cook a tajine on her blog green kitchen stories. In short:

1. Balance (hot and sweet)
2. Think big! (big chunks of veggies not to end up with mash)
3. Give it time! (to simmer on very low heat)
4. No (or little) peeking! Leave your tajine steam in peace.
5. No (or little) stirring! (again.. not to end up with mash)

Berbere are the orignial inhabitants of north africa, before the arabs arrived. My family is of berber origin, from the mountains of the Atlas somewhere in between Marakech and Taroudant. I was in the area last october and took a daytrip to the beautiful Ourika valley. Here’s where I had a berbere tajine for lunch…


Not bad!

Berbere vegetarian tajine

Tagine Berbere vegetarien

Serves 6
Prep 25 min cook 1hr to 1hr30*

2 large onions, peeled,
1 carrot (~400g), peeled,
2 turnips, peeled,
500 g firm potatoes, peeled,
400 g pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled,
400 g celeriac, peeled,
200 g green beans, ends chopped
200 g cherry tomatoes,
1 Ts ground ginger,
1 Ts ground paprika,
1 ts ground turmeric,
1/2 ts coriander seeds,
1/2 ts cumin seeds,
1 handful flat parsley, finely chopped,
1 handful coriander seeds, finely chopped,
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and germ removed,
Salt and pepper to taste,
Optional: Harissa to taste,
5 Ts olive oil,
5 to 10 cl water.

. Chop the onions in thick slices. Cut the carrot, potatoes, pumpkin, turnips and celeriac into large chunks. Halve the beans.

. In a pestle, ground finely the garlic, cumin and coriander seeds, herbs, salt and the rest of the spices into a thick paste. Add some Harissa if using any ( I used a teaspoon). Add the olive oil and 5 to 10 cl of water.

. Grease a tajine** or alternatively a cocotte or a large deep bottom pan with lid with 1 Ts olive oil.

. Layer the vegetables in the tajine/pan: first the onions, then the potatoes, etc. finish with the beans and tomatoes.

. Pour a bit of the spice mixture in between each vegetable layer making sure to keep at least a third to pour on top.

. Put the tajine/cocotte/pan on top of a stove top heat diffuser on medium heat and leave to heat up covered for 10 to 15 minutes until the veggies start to steam. Then lower the heat and leave to cook covered for about 1 hour* or until the vegetables are cooked through.

Bon appetit!

Berbere Vegetarian Tajine

* cooking time depends on several aspects: the heat source, the pan, which sort of veggies you are using and how full your pan is.
** Not all tajines are heat proof. Although most plain tajines will go on the stove and in the oven, painted and decorated tajines are often only for serving. Make sure you check when buying a tajine. I also advise using a stovetop heat diffuser to avoid the bottom from burning and to ensure even cooking.

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§ 4 Responses to A Berbere vegetarian tajine"

  • Magda says:

    Hello Myriam, what an exciting event it must have been. It’s great what you’re doing. I’m actually contemplating doing something similar myself, with Greek cuisine of course. We’ll see what happens.
    Wishing you the very best with your new business adventures!

    • Hi Magda, how exciting! I am looking forward to hear more about it. I’d come to eat your food anytime… Good luck!
      The dinner was fun and there were only empty plates coming back to the kitchen. Always a good sign. I’ll be cooking one of your recipes for an expat event on balkan cuisine over 10 days. I am looking forward to it!

  • Selma says:

    Ik ben een paar jaar geleden in Marokko geweest en het is echt een prachtig land met heel lekker eten! Ik heb daarna een Tajine gekocht en er veel mee gekookt, maar inmiddels staat hij werkeloos in de kast (of nog in een verhuisdoos :-s). Weet jij of Tajines ook op een elektrische kookplaat gebruikt kunnen worden?

    • Hi Selma, als je vroeger op gas met je tajine heeft gekookt is de kans groot dat het ook op een elektrische kookplaat werkt. Omdat voor tajine in iedere geval de lagere standen word gebruikt denk ik dat je niet te veel risico loopt. Succes!

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