Moroccan lamb tagine with dates and pistachios

Moroccan lamb tagine with dates, almonds and pistachios

Moroccan lamb tagine with dates, almonds and pistachios recipe

In Arab culture, dates are an age-old source of nutrition and natural sugar; nomads could survive in the desert with dates alone for nourishment. As the fruit is regarded as special, it is often added to festive grain dishes and stews. This slightly sticky date and nut tagine is a favorite at weddings and other family feasts.


  • 2–3 tablespoons ghee, or 1 tablespoon olive oil plus a knob of butter
  • 2 onions, finely chopped 
  • 1–2 teaspoons ground turmeric 
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
  • 1 kg lean lamb, from the shoulder, neck or leg, cut into bite-sized pieces 
  • 250 g ready-to-eat stoned dates 
  • 1 tablespoon dark, runny honey 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • a knob of butter 
  • 2–3 tablespoons blanched almonds 
  • 2 tablespoons shelled pistachios 
  • leaves from a small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped 
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • Plain, Buttery Couscous, to serve 

Serves 4


Heat the ghee in a tagine or heavy-based casserole. Stir in the onions and sauté until golden brown. Stir in the turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon. Toss in the meat, making sure it is coated in the spice mixture. Pour in enough water to almost cover the meat and bring it to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer gently for roughly 1½ hours.

Add the dates and stir in the honey. Cover with a lid again and simmer for another 30 minutes. Season with salt and lots of black pepper. Heat the olive oil with the butter in a small pan. Stir in the almonds and pistachios and cook until they begin to turn golden brown. Scatter the toasted nuts over the lamb and dates and sprinkle with the flat-leaf parsley. Serve with Plain, Buttery Couscous and a sharp, crunchy salad with preserved lemon to cut the sweetness.