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Sam’s Kumara, Date & Almond Tagine

Vegetarian & Vegan friendly
Prep & cook time: 1 hr and 25 mins
Serves 4

A tagine may sound like a whole lot of exotic complication, but it’s surprisingly simple. Basically, it is a delicious vegetable stew, the longer you cook it the better. You don’t have to have a proper tagine dish to make one though; a lidded casserole dish will do superbly.

The thought of using dates in a savoury context may seem a bit strange, but that distinctly Moroccan combination of spices such as cinnamon, cumin and paprika acts as a beautiful foil for the sweetness. This is stunning winter comfort food, perhaps with a little spiced yoghurt as a garnish to counter the richness. 

Tagine Ingredients

1kg kumara* scrubbed and chopped 3cm
2-3 tsp each cinnamon, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, sweet paprika and cumin seeds
A thumb’s worth of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Sea salt and cracked pepper
Olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
A handful of Alison’s Pantry select dates, roughly chopped
700ml vegetable stock
½ cup (50g) Alison’s Pantry ground almonds
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 cups Alison’s Pantry jumbo chickpeas, cooked**

To Serve

3 tbsp Alison’s Pantry sliced natural almonds, toasted
A small handful of coriander leaves
Alison’s Pantry couscous

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

In a roasting dish, combine the kumara with the spices, ginger, a brave seasoning of salt and pepper and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Spread out in an even layer and roast for about 35-40 minutes, until the kumara is lovely and caramelised, and cooked through.

In a large, lidded casserole or large cooking pot, over a medium heat, add a glug of olive oil, let it heat up and gently cook the sliced onion for about 10 minutes until soft and golden brown, then follow with the chopped dates and cook for a further 5 minutes, until the dates have softened. Add the roasted kumara with the scrapings from the pan, the stock, ground almond, carrot and chickpeas, stir well, cover and cook for about 25 minutes. Season well to taste.

Whip up some couscous (1 cup couscous to 1 cup boiling water cover and leave for 5 minutes, will make enough for 4 serves), then flavour with a generous amount of butter, a bit of chopped coriander, some toasted cumin seeds and fluff with a fork.

Serve Tagine with the couscous and scatter over the flaked almonds and the coriander leaves This reheats well, so cook in advance if you fancy.

*Any variety of kumara can be used, or whole scrubbed yams are a great option for this dish.

** Chickpeas – soak overnight in a bowl with 5 cups of water. Rinse and place in a pot with plenty of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook till tender, 1.5 – 2 hours.

Ideas to make more of the dish

This reheats well, so cook in advance if you fancy.

The possibilities for leftovers are many

  • Use as a filling for a pie
  • Add several lightly beaten eggs to the cold mix and fry off dollops as fritters, excellent with a bit of spiced yoghurt.