This recipe has quickly become one of my favourites to impress friends with something a bit different. The lemon and olives give it a unique punchy flavour and can be made with various different vegetable. I have used courgette, but it would certainly go well with aubergine, green beans, carrots or squash.
On this occasion I served the dish with a fragrant brown rice. I always flavour my rice. You can use ingredients like allspice berries, cardamom, garlic, ginger or chillies; almost any spice or herb in fact. Why wouldn’t you when it’s so easy and lifts rice up to a whole new level. If you wanted to be really authentic you could serve the dish with coriander couscous.
Moroccan Chickpea Tagine with Fragrant Rice
- 1 red onion
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- olive oil or groundnut oil for frying
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1 thumb sized piece of ginger
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 lemon, peeled and roughly chopped
- 12 – 15 green olives, stoned and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon harrissa paste, shop bought or homemade (see below)
- small glass of white wine
- 200ml vegetable stock
- 1 pepper, chopped
- 1 courgette, chopped
- 400ml tin of chickpeas, drained (you can soak dried ones overnight if you want, personally I’ve never had the time)
For the Harrissa Paste
- 2 – 4 red chillies, depending on how hot you like it
- 2 garlic cloves
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- zest of half a lemon and the juice
- dash of olive oil
For the Rice
- 300g brown basmati rice
- 4 cardamom pods
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 red pepper, diced
- glug of olive oil
Heat the oil in a large pan or wok and gently cook the onion and garlic until soft. Add the cumin, ginger, cinnamon, lemon and green olives and cook for 2 minutes. To make the harrissa paste put all the ingredients in a food processor or pestle and mortar and blend into a rough paste. Stir in the harrissa paste and chopped vegetables and cook for 3 minutes. Add the wine, stock and chickpeas and bring to the boil. Season with salt and pepper and gently cook for 20 minutes.
To cook the rice add twice the volume of water to the rice and bring to the boil. Bash the cardamom pods and add with a pinch of salt and pepper and a glug of olive oil. Simmer for 20 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Take off the heat, stir in the diced pepper and cover for 10 minutes.
Serve the tagine and rice with a sprinkle of fresh coriander.