North African Chicken Tagine

27 Nov 2023

This flavoursome dish originates from North Africa. It can be made with any meat, fish or vegetables, along with a variety of different dried fruits.

Tagines traditionally take a long time to cook, but this one is a speedy version, ideal for a family meal.


4 boned chicken thighs
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
2cm piece root ginger
1 lemon (optional)
1 x 15ml spoon vegetable oil
1 x 5ml spoon ground coriander
1 x 5ml spoon ground cumin
1 x 5ml spoon ground cinnamon
¼ x 5ml spoon cayenne pepper OR chilli powder
150g ready-to-eat dried apricots
50g pitted green olives (optional)
1 small bunch (20g) coriander (optional)
500ml water
1 x 15ml spoon tomato purée


Weighing scales
Chopping board
Sharp knife
Garlic crusher
Vegetable peeler
Measuring spoons
Frying pan
Wooden spoon
Casserole dish with lid or tagine dish
Measuring jug


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan or gas mark 5.
  2. Remove any skin and fat from the chicken. Wash your hands after touching the raw meat.
  3. Peel and finely chop the onion.
  4. Peel and crush the garlic.
  5. Use a teaspoon to scrape the peel off the ginger and grate carefully.
  6. Using a vegetable peeler, peel 2 slices of lemon rind from the lemon (if using).
  7. Heat the oil in the frying pan and fry the chicken on a high heat until it is browned on both sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and put it in the casserole dish.
  8. Put the onions, garlic, ground coriander, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne pepper or chilli powder in the frying pan, reduce the heat and fry gently for 2–3 minutes.
  9. Tip the spicy onion mixture into the casserole dish and mix with the chicken.
  10. Add the grated ginger, apricots, olives and lemon peel (if using) to the chicken. Wash the bunch of coriander and tuck down one side of the casserole dish (if using).
  11. Add the water and tomato purée to the frying pan and bring to the boil. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to mix in all the cooking juices and make a thin sauce. Pour the sauce over the ingredients in the casserole dish.
  12. Put a lid on the casserole dish and put into the oven for 1 hour, stirring after half an hour.
  13. Remove the lemon peel and bunch of coriander (if using) and discard – it will have added flavour to the tagine.
  14. Serve the tagine with couscous and a few coriander leaves sprinkled over the top.

Skills used include:
Washing, measuring, peeling, chopping, grating, mixing/combining, frying and baking.

Top Tips

  • The tagine can be cooked on the hob instead of in the oven. Brown the chicken then put all the ingredients into a large saucepan, cover and simmer gently for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little more water during cooking if the sauce becomes too thick.

Something to try next time

  • Dried apricots give a lovely sweetness to the sauce, but prunes or dates are a good alternative.
  • Add a drained 400g can of chickpeas at step 8 to make the dish go further and add protein and fibre.

Prepare now, eat later

  • The chicken tagine will keep for up to 24 hours in the fridge, and will also freeze well. Cool quickly before chilling and freezing.
  • Defrost thoroughly and reheat until piping hot. Reheat only once.