Fish fillets poached in a spicy tomato sauce and an abundance of vegetables and chickpeas. My Moroccan Fish Tagine is the perfect topping for couscous, and it's done in 30 minutes! Delicious and healthy doesn't get any better!
Moroccan Fish Tagine
Bring On The Tagine!
We're breaking out the tagine; let's create this ultra-healthy, ultra-luxe fish tagine recipe. It's exactly what to serve when you want to impress new in-laws, work friends, or just basically anyone.
Studded with loads of white fish, rainbow peppers, and a lightly spiced tomato sauce, this Moroccan fish tagine recipe feels—and tastes—exceedingly fancy with zero fuss.
It's a tradition in my house, and I know it'll find a happy home in yours, too!
What is a Tagine?
A tagine is a conical earthenware pot, and the dish prepared in the tagine pot shares the same name as its cooking vessel. It's kind of funny how that worked out. Moroccans kept it simple; let's just call everything to do with this pot a tagine.
The tagine pot is wide and shallow; its cover has a conical shape and creates a seal on the base. Together, the two pieces make a kind of clay oven that was traditionally placed on an open fire for cooking.
Both a tagine and a Dutch oven cook food in a similar manner. The cone-like design permits steam to ascend and then condense, subsequently returning into the container. Therefore, this acts as a natural and continuous basting of the food being cooked. Perfectly moist and buttery meats with little to no fuss. Yes, please!
Traditionally tagines were made of earthenware and were not glazed.
Nowadays, however, tagines are made of different types of materials, glazed and elegantly decorated. As a result, you can purchase different types of tagines; some of them are for cooking, and others for serving ⏤ the highly decorated tagines are usually for serving.
When purchasing a tagine, you have to decide whether you want to use it for serving food or cooking.
Moroccan Fish Tagine Recipe Ingredients
A quick trip to the grocery store gives you all the goods to make what promises to be the best fish tagine you've ever tasted. Take a screenshot of this list, and you're good to go:
- Fish: any white flesh firm fish will work with this recipe.
- Produce: onions; yellow, red, orange, green bell peppers; and tomatoes. Also, there's a whole head of garlic! And one bunch of cilantro. That's it. Our tagine is definitely a veggie-heavy dish.
- Pantry & spice rack: cumin, crushed coriander seeds, turmeric, smoked paprika, bouillon powder and pepper. Two heaping spoons of harissa and a can of chickpeas.
How to Get this On Your Table in 30 Minutes!
That's right! 30 minutes of cooking, and you're done. Dinner is served, and you're on your way to becoming a Moroccan chef.
Most important step! Warm up your Tagine/Dutch oven. It's essential to heat your tagine before you start cooking.
- Warm-up your Tagine/Dutch oven. It's essential to heat your tagine before you start cooking.
- Start with your onions & peppers. Start with the onions and add the peppers as soon as the onions become soft.
- Then spices, tomatoes, & garlic. Coat the peppers with the spices and add the tomatoes and garlic.
- Toss in the chickpeas and water. This is where the real magic starts; simmer for 10 minutes. Then taste the sauce.
- Cilantro & frozen fish is a must! Don't thaw your fish; add it to the tagine well still frozen; you want all that yummy juice from the fish to add to the liquid of the tagine. NOTE: If cilantro tastes like soap to you, swap it for parsley.
Serve. Couscous or bread, it's your choice, that is, of course, if you want to keep the Moroccan theme going.
What to Serve with a Moroccan Fish Tagine
When you make this tagine, it's the star of the mealtime show, precisely as it should be. Still, there are a few things I've found that complement the meal in true Moroccan fashion:
- Briny olives & pickles. Keep it Moroccan and opt for big green olives and pickled vegetables. The briny flavours are a nice compliment to the meal.
- Loaves of sourdough bread. Place them in the middle of the table and tear off chunks as you eat. Dip, drench and finally sweep it across a seemingly empty bowl to sop up every last drop of this delicious tagine.
- Simple side salad. Consider serving the salad after the meal as a bright palate-cleanser. Try fresh anise with a little lemon or a simple herb salad with a little splash of vinegar and salt.
Frequently Asked Questions.
Unfortunately, you can't substitute fish in a fish tagine and still end up having fish tagine, haha! However, this dish is so yummy, and with the chickpeas, it can make a pretty tasty vegan tagine.
You don't have to have a tagine to make this dish. You can use an 8 qt Dutch oven, a braiser or a large sauté pan. The most important thing to remember is to have a large flat bottom. If you use a 6 qt pot, you'll end up with too much liquid and, to be honest, a complete mess in a pot.
Parsley is a great swap for cilantro. I know this herb has an awful taste for some people, but if it doesn't taste like soap to you, it's a must-have in the recipe.
Harissa is a North African condiment made from cayenne peppers, olive oil, garlic and spices. Different brands have different levels of heat. I love the traditional harissa from Tunisia or Libya, it is the hottest version. If you have harissa from these countries, you may want to reduce the amount of harissa in this recipe for the sake of your tongue. Check the ingredients label; it will give you an idea of how hot it's going to be. Mild harissa will often have a mix of bell peppers in the ingredients.
Yes. I would recommend choosing canned whole tomatoes for easy measurement conversions. If you're using chopped tomatoes, you'll need about 5oz (½ cup) of tomatoes. If you have leftover tomatoes, try making my marinara sauce.
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 4 bell peppers (red, yellow, orange & green) sliced
- 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly crushed
- ¼ teaspoon chilli pepper/cayenne (optional)
- 1 medium tomato, skinned and diced
- 1 head of garlic, finely diced
- 1-2 tablespoon harissa
- 1 small can of chickpeas (approximately 1 cup)
- 1 cup of water
- 1 teaspoon bouillon powder
- 1 bunch of cilantro, washed, dried and roughly chopped
- 4 frozen cod fillet (or any firm white fish.)
- A pinch of freshly ground pepper
- salt (only if needed)
- Heat the tagine. Set the tagine on a low heat until warm; once the tagine is warm, increase the heat to a medium-high. If you're not using a tagine pot, skip the warm-up on low and heat your pot at medium-high.
- Sauté onions & peppers. Coat the tagine with a generous amount of olive oil (about 2 tablespoon or more). Add in the onions, sauté until translucence, then add the bell peppers. Cover the tagine and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add spices, tomatoes, garlic & harissa. Once the bell peppers have begun to soften, add in the spices and stir to coat the peppers and bloom the flavours. Add the tomatoes and garlic. Cover the tagine and simmer for 3-4 minutes ⏤ if the tomatoes are really dry, add 2 tablespoon of water from your water cup.
- Toss in the chickpeas, bouillon powder, & water. Open the lid, add the chickpeas and bouillon powder and give everything a good stir. Pour the water over the mixture and cover the tagine for 10 minutes.
- Time for cilantro & fish. Remove the lid and taste the sauce; you may wish to adjust the salt at this point. I don't usually add any salt to the dish since the bouillon powder is pretty salty already, but it's a good time to check. Stir in the cilantro, then place the fish on top of the sauce. Cover the tagine, and simmer for 7 minutes.
- Braise, Simmer & Cover. Now the fish has been cooking for 7 minutes and is becoming soft. Scoop some of the sauce on top of the fish and move the chickpeas to the side so the fish can be submerged into the sauce. Cover and continue cooking for 4 minutes
- Serve and enjoy.
When selecting your harissa make sure to check the ingredient list. Some brands of harissa are very mild and others are very hot. I used Mina Brand when creating this recipe, they're mild compared to Tunisian and Libyan brands.
If you hate cilantro and it tastes like soap, swap it for parsley.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 383Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 99mgSodium: 547mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 6gSugar: 4gProtein: 47g