How I Make Moroccan Tagine

Moroccan tagine

Is it a dish or a cooking vessel? It’s both, the earthenware pot that is used to slow cook delicious meats and seasoning in Morocco is also the name of the dish that comes out of these amazing pots.

This dish is inspired by one of my closest friends and the magical trip to his native country of Morocco. Zak and I came to acquaintance through our daily meetup at our home farm stand owned by legend and close friend to so many myself included, Mustafa the Turk in NYC. After days of meeting up there, casual fruit and veg pickups turned to late night sessions of food and drink at Minooks Korean Restaurant upstairs. Zak and I developed a friendship and trust that when he invited me to come see Morocco I quickly acquiesced and immediately called my cousin and closest friend Sean who is always down for exploration of the unknown. He signed on without hesitation.

Having fallen quite fond of the majestic spice Saffron, a huge part of my motive to go was to source and bring back as much as I could. It was successful in that regard, but the biggest reward remains the wealth of knowledge, life experience and cultural awareness I departed with. 

I would never pretend to cook a tagine better than Zak or anyone in Morocco for that matter but this is how I ventured into the world of tagine.

Keep in mind, with this recipe exact measurements are not crucial. Use your imagination and discretion at the same time. Dial in your flavors and taste and enjoy the process of touch and feel as you cook. Dishes like this tagine are super sensory so let it take you to a Souk under the stars in the Sahara. 



Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 1 hour


  • 1 whole chicken butchered down into 8-12 pieces

Preserved Lemons

  • 2-4 cups kosher salt
  • 3-6 lemons Depending on size
  • 1 glass jar or container big enough to fit ingredients snugly


  • 1 ½ cup of olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 gram saffron threads if available Soaked in ¼ cup hot water
  • 4 tbsp Wah Gwan
  • 1 tbsp Dry Brine
  • 2 tbsp chopped preserved lemon
  • 2 tbsp turmeric


  • 2 cups shredded onion
  • 1 cup dried figs
  • 1 cup pitted olives
  • 2 cups shredded onion
  • 1 cup dried figs
  • 1 cup pitted olives

Preserved Lemons

Ideally you have time to make this in advance, otherwise this is a nice to have for the future so still make now and use it next time!

Sanitize your jar or container and dry thoroughly.

Cut 1 inch off of the top of each lemon and quarter the lemon without going all the way through on the root side.

Next pour salt on the bottom of the jar and and the pour salt between each quarter of the lemon. Place the lemon in the jar and pour salt over and around it. Do the same for the rest of the lemons keeping in mind the size of the lemon and jar matter. You may need to use another jar or container or make less. 

When lemons are packed with salt all around, place the lid on your jar and leave in the fridge for at least 1 month but optimally 3 months and I have observed them keep in the fridge for up to 14 months. 

Make the Chermoula & Marinate the Chicken

Place all of the chermoula ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Pour over Chicken and thoroughly mix. Cover and set in the fridge for a minimum of an hour but ideally 4 to 8 hrs or even overnight.

Cook the Tagine

Put a wide pan, dutch oven or skillet, (any vessel with a tight fitting lid will do) on medium to high heat.

Place the chicken in and brown for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Cover the chicken with sliced onions and remaining marinade. Cover and put on medium low to low  heat for 30-45 minutes. 

After 30 minutes or so remove the lid and sprinkle in figs and olives, cover with a lid and give a shake to distribute gravy.

Cook for 5-10 minutes and remove the lid and cook for another 5-10 minutes to reduce the gravy.

Serve with your favorite rice!

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