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Chickpea stew with tomato, turmeric, yoghurt, and harissa

Tagines are the national dish of Morocco, 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 in both the creativity of great chefs, as well as, are punchy with flavour. Hers is one such tagine from one of my favourite cookbooks.

This chickpea tagine is loaded with complex flavours from a host of 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. Admittedly, this is not the easiest tagine to make, but the flavours far outweigh the effort. My guests all took seconds of this dish, passing on the meaty tagine that was also on the table.

Some cookbooks make me happy when I cook from them. The flavours and dishes are amazing. I waited a long time before I decided to buy this book and then regretted that decision. This is a beautiful book, the recipes are very unique in how this genius chef puts together flavours and dishes. All the recipes pop with flavours, beautifully laid out dishes, and wonderful food. This restaurant is definitely on my bucket list the next time I am in 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 and 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 retain both the stock and the chickpeas.

Add the oil to a large pot, one that is large enough for all the ingredients. Add the carrots, onions, garlic and bay leaf and sautè till the onions and carrots begin to turn a light golden, 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 turn allowing the spices to evenly coat the vegetables.

Add the wine and bring to a simmer and cook till the wine is reduced to half the volume. Add only the stock from the cooked chickpeas and bring to a boil. make the total volume of the liquids up to 4 cups, approximately.

Add the kale and stir into the stew and 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 till 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 addition yoghurt on the side and pita bread or couscous.

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