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Chickpea stew with tomato, turmeric, yoghurt, and harissa

Updated: Mar 22

Tagines are Morocco's national dish. They are complex, diverse, and always delicious. Though most traditional tagines are meat-based, newer dishes are moving towards excellent vegetarian versions. These use lentils as a protein source but do not lack the creativity of great chefs and are punchy with flavour. Hers is one such tagine from one of my favourite cookbooks.

This chickpea tagine is loaded with complex flavours from various spices and herbs. The chickpeas are not out of a can, so they retain a perfect bite that adds a lovely texture to the dish. This is not the easiest tagine to make, but the flavours far outweigh the effort. My guests took seconds of this dish, passing on the meaty tagine on the table.

Some cookbooks make me happy when I cook from them. The flavours and dishes are unique. I waited a long time before buying this book and regretted that decision. This is a beautiful book; the recipes are unique in how this genius chef combines flavours and dishes. All the recipes pop with flavours, beautifully laid out dishes, and excellent food. This restaurant is on my bucket list the next time I visit Venice, California.

For more delicious recipes from this cookbook, click here.


For the chickpeas:

1/2 cup dried chickpeas soaked in 5 cups water overnight

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 carrot, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 small bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Salt, to taste

4 cups water

For the stew:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 carrots, finely diced

1 onion, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 small bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander powder

1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly pounded

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 -1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon chilli powder

1 teaspoon pepper,

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Salt, to taste

1 cup dry white wine

4 cups water or chicken stock

3 cups kale, stemmed and finely chopped

3-5 tablespoons ready harissa

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

For the spiced yoghurt:

1/4 teaspoon Greek yoghurt, for a thicker sauce

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin seeds

1 tablespoon cilantro, minced

1/2 teaspoon mint, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon lime juice

Salt, to taste

Start by cooking the soaked chickpeas. Drain the chickpeas, add all the ingredients for the chickpeas to a small pot, and bring to a boil. Skim off the scum from the top and simmer for 20-25 minutes till the chickpeas are cooked but still retain a bite. Take off the flame and keep both the stock and the chickpeas.

Add the oil to a large pot, one large enough for all the ingredients. Add the carrots, onions, garlic, and bay leaf and sautè until the onions and carrots turn a light golden colour, about 10 minutes on a medium-low flame.

Add the cumin, coriander, fennel, paprika, chilli, pepper, thyme, tomato paste, and salt, and give the mix a good stir, allowing the spices to coat the vegetables evenly.

Add the wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until the wine is reduced to half its volume. Add only the stock from the cooked chickpeas and bring to a boil. The total volume of the liquids should be approximately 4 cups.

Add the kale and stir into the stew, allowing it to wilt for 15 minutes. Add the harissa and chickpeas and mix in well. Simmer closed for an additional 15 minutes. Add the vinegar and stir in. Taste for salt, spice, and flavour, adjusting for each.

Mix all the ingredients for the spiced yoghurt well—taste for salt. Set aside in the fridge until needed.

To serve, bring the stew up to a boil. Adjust the stock in the pot; the stew tends to thicken as it sits. Ladle into a deep bowl and spoon the spiced yoghurt over the top. Serve immediately with additional yoghurt on the side and pita bread or couscous.

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