08 June 2011

Carrot and Chickpea Tagine with Greek Yogurt and Caraway Rice

It's such a sunny hot day ... sunny and hot, just like this gorgeous plate of leftover Carrot and Chickpea Tagine that comes from sunny northern Africa!

What a mixed -up, but wonderful dinner we had last evening! This Morrocan tagine paired really well with my favorite take on steamed rice (a favorite from an Indian restaurant we frequented in North Carolina). Dollops of Greek yogurt cooled the heat of the spicy hot and sweet tagine. We also broiled chicken wings that were treated with lemon juice, olive oil and a lemon-pepper spice rub. A cold bottle of  LaBelle's Seyval Blanc gave a light fruity something to sip ... sometimes it all comes together in such a pleasant way!

There are a lot of spices in this dish, but when they simmer together with the starches from the chickpeas, the released sugars from the carrots, and just a bit of honey, a pretty sauce develops and really does a good job of coating the carrots and beans. One spice blend that I am unfamiliar with is zataar ... it's a blend of sumac, thyme, oregano, marjoram, salt, and sesame seeds. This recipe called for a teaspoon's worth, but our dinner didn't have it and it was still really great. I'm intrigued, though. Sumac grows all over this part of New England. Perhaps I will harvest some this Fall! Stay tuned ...

So here you go ... make this dish for a Meatless Monday dinner or on an evening when you want a mouthful of spice ... and a bit of sweetness. Add a bit of tart coolness from the yogurt and chilled sweetness from a nice white wine and I promise, you'll love it!

Now, all I need is an authentic tagine! Until then, the clay pot works just fine!

lunchtime leftovers on our sunny porch ...

Carrot and Chickpea Tagine


1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 star anise pods
1 tsp. zataar (Moroccan spice blend)
1 scant tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
¼ c. currants
15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 carrots, peeled and julienned
pinch kosher salt
grinding of black pepper
¾ c. water
juice of a wedge of lemon
1 tbsp. honey
¼ c. cilantro or flat-leaf parsley … or both if you really like green herbs

Making the Dish:

1. Put the oil in a clay pot or tagine and bring the heat up under it.

2. Add the onion and garlic and bring the veggies to a sauté.

3. Add the spices and stir around for one minute, letting them cook a bit to develop and release oils.

4. Add the currants and cook about a minute.

5. Add the drained chickpeas and toss to coat with the spices.

6. Pour the water and honey over all and stir to make a spicy broth, scraping the bottom of the pan to bring all the spices up into the mix.

7. Lay the carrots over the top, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and leave until the carrots are just tender.

8. Add the lemon juice and toss the carrots into the mix, fish out the star anise pods, turn into a pretty bowl and serve with a small bowl of cold Greek yogurt (plain) on the side, a big bowl of caraway steamed rice, and a cold and fruity white wine.

9. Enjoy!

This rice recipe is for Max, my friend who is a beginner in the kitchen ...

Steamed Rice with Butter and Caraway Seed


1 c. basmati rice
2 tbsp. butter
water to cover
2 pinches caraway seed
salt and pepper, to taste

Measure the rice into a deep, heavy, covered saucepan.

Rinse the rice in cold water and drain, repeat this rinse and swirl 5X more. Drain the rice well after the final rinse. The idea here is to get some of the starch out of the outer coating of the rice grains, so that it is not sticky when cooked. The water should be relatively clear after the last rinse.
Add enough cold water to cover well (about half an inch above the top of the rice layer), dot with the butter and toss on the caraway seed.
Cover the pan and bring the rice to a boil and then down the heat immediately. Simmer covered until the water has become absorbed by the rice.
Taste the rice and if it is perfectly al dente, turn off the heat and leave the cover off to cool the rice and stop the steaming process. If the rice still has a bit of bite, add just a bit of water and leave the cover on, but still turn off the heat. Let the residual heat finish cooking the rice ...

When it's time to serve, toss the rice lightly with a fork and place in a warm bowl. You can re-heat the rice quickly in the microwave, if it has cooled too much.

If these instructions are to loosey-goosey for you, use a rice steamer. What can I say? Cooking rice is an inexact science. Different varieties of rice act differently too, so play with the amount of water when you're making different types. You just have to develop a feel for cooking rice. You have to play with getting the right pot out of your collection ( I use a heavy saucepan with a tight-fitting lid), experiment with water levels until you know the correct amount of water (sorry, I never measure when making rice), and get a feel for the washing/draining procedure.


  1. Oh does this look delicious, and it's right up my ally! I love a good meatless dinner several times a week! I'll be making this - for sure!

  2. This looks so healthy and good; everyhing in this dish seem to go well together.

  3. za'atar really is a gorgeous thing. Great to use just like dukkah (ie, dunk a piece of turkish bread in olive oil and then into the za'atar). It's also great sprinkled on tops of breads before you cook them.
    Your tagine looks gorgeous. I've always wanted a tagine pot too, but my family and friends haven't taken the hint yet...

  4. That sounds absolutely delicious. I don't use chickpeas nearly enough in my cooking. Time to change that!

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog! This looks yummy! I'll have to tuck it away for a night when hubs isn't home...don't think he would go for it ;)

  6. Hey! Thanks! I made rice last night and it came out really good. I had to add more than a little water because the rice cooked dry too fast, but I didn't burn it!


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