Dates and Fish Tagine
A tagine or tajine means a ‘large pot’ in Persian language and is a popular North African/Arabian dish, named after the conical pot in which it is cooked. The glazed ceramic pot consists of two parts, a heavy round base and the cone or dome shaped cover which keeps the steam inside and helps gently simmer the food.
While mutton and beef tagines take a long time cooking, fish tagine recipe is done within 30 minutes which makes it an ideal meal for busy or lazy days. The rich and hearty dates and fish tagine is a combination of beautiful flavours. Sweet from caramelised onions, cinnamon and dates, contrasted with sour and spicy from lots of lemon juice, cumin, black pepper and paprika.
Adding tahini (sesame seed paste) to the marinade brings the whole dish together and gives a hint of creaminess to the potatoes. You can add any of your favourite vegetables, dried fruits and nuts to the tagine too; like carrots, broccoli, eggplants, olives, raisins, apricots, plums and almonds.
This low fat, gorgeous and flavourful fish tagine recipe, straight out of The Arabian Nights, is perfect for entertaining, festive celebrations and as cold weather comfort food.
1/2 kg boneless firm fish fillet
2 medium onions, sliced
2 medium potatoes, very thinly sliced
1 cup dates, pitted
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 tablespoons tahini
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon dry thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 lemons, thinly sliced
Pinch of saffron threads
3-4 green chilli peppers, sliced
Fresh mint or coriander for garnishing
This Is What You Do
Blend together garlic, lemon juice, tahini, cinnamon, cumin, black pepper, paprika, thyme and salt in an electric blender to make a smooth paste.
Marinade the fish pieces in this paste for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile add olive oil in a frying pan, stir in dates. Fry for 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Add onions to the same pan. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or till it begins to turn golden.
Reduce heat,add pinch of salt to onions and keep cooking another 5 minutes. Add soaked saffron with water. Cook till the water evaporates.
Add the fried saffron onions along with the olive oil into a tagine, a clay pot or a heavy bottom pot. Spread the onion slices at the bottom of the pan.
Arrange the potatoes over onions in circles.
Top the potatoes with the fish pieces and all the marinade.
Arrange lemon slices, green chilli peppers and fried dates on top.
Cover the tagine and cook over low heat for 15-18 minutes or till the fish and potatoes are done.
Garnish with fresh coriander or mint leaves. Serve hot straight away from the cooking pan with bread, rice or couscous.