A Tagine Tale: A Stew that Takes You Home

This Nutritious Chickpea & Fennel Tagine Amplifies Your Protein Intake with Nearly 25 Grams of Plant-Based Goodness!

Chickpea and fennel tagine Packed with 25g of plant-based protein.

Chickpea Tagine from Lula Cafe Cookbook Image by Carolina Rodríguez

November 1, 2023

We at VoiceAngel are committed not only to providing valuable content but also to tickling your fancy bones. So grab your sequined belly-dancing outfit and get ready for a mouthwatering adventure with tagine—a dish with a flair for the dramatic!

A tagine is both a North African stew and the culinary equivalent of a magic trick. Imagine a conical clay vessel slowly simmering a delectable mix of heavenly flavors, all without drying out. It’s like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, except the rabbit is a succulent stew that transports you to the heart of a Moroccan souk.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. At Lula, our tagine master and longtime manager, Natalie Sternberg, inherited her cooking skills from her mother, who studied belly dancing in Morocco. Oh, those wild, drug-infused drum parties with dance, music, and Moroccan cuisine! Poor Natalie had to endure countless Friday nights of embarrassment, like that one time she had to explain to a friend why her parents were howling at the moon. Talk about a crazy night under the stars!

But Natalie’s mom left her with a legacy—a tagine. Passed down through generations, this magical clay vessel found its way into our kitchen, bringing with it centuries of spicy history and flavor-packed nostalgia.

One of the best things about tagine? It’s a culinary dream come true for those of us who love to play with our food. With tagine, creativity is the name of the game. You can mix and match ingredients to your heart’s content, swapping veggies, dried fruit, and herbs like a fashionista changing outfits at a runway show. Think of it as a savory dress-up party!

The secret to tagine’s captivating flavor lies in the perfect balance of sweet and tangy elements—our dazzling turmeric spice mix, golden raisins, and fennel. These ingredients dance to the beat of the rhythmic simmer, becoming besties with the hearty dried chickpeas and loads of onions. The result? A head-turning aroma that will make your taste buds groove to the beat of your own culinary memories.

Are you ready to take center stage? Check out the fabulous cast of characters in this tagine adventure:



Ingredients Quantity
Blend oil 2 tablespoons
Small onion, minced 1 (5½ oz/160 g)
Tagine Spice Mix 3 tablespoons (page 248)
Medium fennel bulb, minced ½ (2½ oz/60 g)
Small jalapeño, seeded, stemmed, and minced 1 (2½ oz/60
Cloves garlic, minced 3-4
Minced fresh ginger 3 tablespoons
Dry white wine ½ cup (4 fl oz/120 ml)
Dried chickpeas, soaked 24 hours 8 cups (2½ lb/1.2 kg)
Vegetable Stock 2¾ cups (23 fl oz/680 g)
Chopped lacinato kale 3 cups (3½ oz/100 g)
Salt 1½ teaspoons
Lemon juice 1 tablespoon

Roasted Carrots and Fennel

Ingredients Quantity
Skinny-ish carrots, peeled 3 (7 oz/200 g)
Fennel bulb, cut into small wedges 1 (4 oz/120 g)
Olive oil ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml)
Salt 1 teaspoon

To Serve

Ingredients Quantity
Sweet Potato Butter 4 tablespoons (see below)
Pickled Golden Raisins 2 tablespoons (see below)
Sliced preserved lemon 1 tablespoon
Green Harissa 2 tablespoons (see below)
Fried Chickpeas 1 quantity (see below)
Sprigs of parsley, cilantro (coriander), and mint leaves, picked


Make the tagine

  1. Place a large, heavy pot over low heat and feel the excitement build. Add the oil and onions, and let the backstage magic begin. Cook for 5–7 minutes until the onions begin to soften, turning them into the showstoppers they were meant to be. Remember, we don’t want them to brown—no diva behavior here!

  2. Time for the grand entrance! Add the tagine spice mix and watch as the room fills with a tantalizing aroma. Stir to combine, creating a symphony of flavors. Cover and let the simmering spectacle unfold for 30 minutes.

  3. Now, bring on the supporting cast. Add the fennel, jalapeños, garlic, and ginger, ensuring they hit their marks right on cue. Cook for 15 minutes, making sure the mixture doesn’t turn darker than diva-level drama.

  4. Cue the applause! It’s time to dazzle the audience with a white wine performance. Pour it in and let it simmer for 3–5 minutes. As the alcohol gets cooked off, you’ll know you’ve hit the right note when your nose no longer detects a burning sensation. Brava!

  5. Now, it’s time for the stars of the show—the soaked chickpeas and vegetable stock. Cover the pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Let this dream team cook for 45–60 minutes until the chickpeas achieve a ravishingly creamy consistency. If the liquid starts to dry up, just add more stock or water. Keep the party going!

  6. The grand finale is here! Add the kale and let it wilt into the stew, bringing a touch of verdant elegance. And to ensure this masterpiece is truly award-worthy, season with salt and a splash of lemon juice. Bravo! Bravo!

Make the roasted carrots and fennel

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Visualize a red carpet where the carrots and fennel show off their star power. In a large bowl, toss these glamorous veggies with olive oil, salt, and a tablespoon of water. Spread them out on a baking sheet, ready to steal the show. Roast for 12–15 minutes until they’re lightly caramelized. Picture-perfect!

To serve

  1. It’s showtime! The roasted carrots and fennel have been anxiously waiting backstage, so it’s time to let them take the spotlight. Add them to the tagine and give them their moment to shine by cooking them for a few minutes until they’re heated through. But wait, we can’t forget the extras!

  2. Introducing Sweet Potato Butter, the superstar of all spreads. Fold it into the tagine, followed by the dazzling Pickled Golden Raisins and the enigmatic sliced preserved lemon. Take a bow, everyone!

  3. But wait, there’s more! Drizzle the green harissa onto the stage, making it rain with flavor. Don’t hold back—add lots of fried chickpeas and garnish with sprigs of parsley, cilantro, and mint leaves. And just like that, our tagine extravaganza is complete!

Enchant your taste buds with Tagine Spice Mix, and mesmerize your guests with the irresistible charm of Fried Chickpeas. And if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, explore the subtle allure of Picked Golden Raisins with their tangy twist, or indulge in the velvety magic of Sweet Potato Butter. For those seeking an extra kick, Green Harissa is your backstage pass to fiery flavors.

Oh, and did we mention that this tagine adventure is protein-packed, bringing about 25 grams of protein to your plate? It’s like winning both Best Actress and Best Actor at the same time!

So, whether you’re a seasoned foodie or just a fashionista dabbling in the culinary arts, this tagine tale will transport you to a world of exotic flavors and unforgettable memories. Each bite invites you to embark on a gastronomic journey through bustling Moroccan markets, where the air is thick with spice and the spirit of adventure dances in every dish.

Join us as we celebrate the artistry of tagine. Let the symphony of flavors ignite your senses, and may your culinary adventures always be filled with joy, laughter, and, of course, impeccable style!

Bon appétit, darlings!