Meet Mama Fatine from the quaint little city of Safi in Western Morocco. She lives to feed people, as soon as you enter her home you will be offered tea, freshly baked snacks, then out may come a chicken, followed by a full-blown feast. All the while she sits back and watches keeping alert just in case your plate is empty or something runs out. Such a warm, welcoming and generous host. The last time I visited I told her I wanted her to teach me to cook a Moroccan dish and here is the recipe; (I was surprised at how healthy it was, no frying involved at all!)
Authentic Moroccan Fish Tagine- serves 6
Preparation Time:45 mins, Cooking Time: 1 hour
- 3 carrots
- 4 celery sticks sliced
- 2 tomatoes
- apx 1.5kg of fresh firm white fish such as snapper, halibut, or sea bass.
- 1 preserved lemon
- handful of green olives
for the charmoula (marinade):
- handful of chopped fresh parsley
- handful of chopped fresh coriander
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- juice and pulp of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 cloves of garlic crushed
- a few strands of saffron (1/4 tsp)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Peel and slice the carrots into discs, boil for around 15 mins, drain and keep to the side.
Mix all the ingredients for the charmoula together then spread on top of the fish, allow to marinade for at least 30 mins.
Layer the base of a tagine dish (or a large heavy based saucepan) with the sliced carrots, next add the celery, then place the fish on top followed by the sliced tomato, olives and roughly chopped preserved lemon. Add any remaining charmoula and a generous drizzling of olive oil on top of it all.
Cover and cook on the stove on a low heat for an hour until the fish is nicely cooked.
Serve with bread, rice, or couscous and traditionally eaten with hands. The perfect thing to share with friends!
(Note: don’t worry if you can’t get hold of preserved lemon or saffron, it will still turn out great without it.)
Main photograph taken by Bo kim.