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Easy Moroccan Meatballs Tagine with Tomato Sauce – Kefta Mkaouara

Are you ready to take your taste buds on a journey to Morocco? In today’s blog post, I’m sharing with you the aromatic world of Moroccan cuisine with a focus on a classic dish Moroccan Meatballs Tagine. Get ready to learn about the rich blend of spices, flavorful meatballs, and the traditional method of slow-cooking in a tagine. Join me as we explore the vibrant flavors and vibrant history of this beloved Moroccan dish.

What is Moroccan Meatballs Tagine?

I have always been intrigued by the rich and flavorful world of Moroccan cuisine, and one dish that never fails to captivate me is the Moroccan Meatballs Tagine also known as Kefta Tagine or Kefta Mkaouara. This delicious dish is a staple in Moroccan households and is a true representation of the country’s vibrant culinary heritage. It’s super easy to make, and cheap.

The History of Tagine in Moroccan Cuisine

The tagine, a traditional North African cookware, takes its name from the dish itself. Its unique conical shape allows for the condensation of flavorful juices, resulting in tender and succulent dishes. The slow cooking method of the tagine allows the flavors to meld together, creating a truly harmonious taste experience. It’s fascinating to know that tagine has been used for centuries, with its design and cooking method perfectly suited to the North African climate and cooking traditions.

Moroccan Meatballs Tagine

The Unique Flavors of Moroccan Meatballs Tagine

One of the most captivating elements of the Moroccan Meatballs Tagine is its unique blend of flavors. The dish typically consists of tender meatballs infused with a fragrant blend of spices such as cumin, cinnamon, and paprika. The addition of aromatic ingredients like preserved lemons, olives, and fresh herbs adds depth and complexity to the dish, creating a symphony of flavors that dance on the palate.

What are The Ingredients of Moroccan Meatballs Tagine? (Kefta Mkaouara)

To make this savory dish come to life, you’ll need to gather a few key ingredients but don’t worry, you most likely have most of them in your kitchen. Let’s dive into what makes this dish so delicious.

Ground Meat

When making Moroccan meatballs, you can use any meat of your choice depending on the taste, but the most commonly used meats are: 

Turkey: Ground turkey meat is very popular because it has a subtle taste that goes really well with the rich tomato sauce. Personally, I love it the most. 

Lamb: Ground lamb gives this tagine a strong taste, and makes for the perfect filling meal. 

Beef: Ground beef meat has a very strong taste, and gives this tagine a very strong and and bold flavor. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of it, because it tastes too strong.

Essential Spices and Herbs

The magic of Moroccan cuisine lies in its exquisite blend of spices and herbs. For the meatballs, you’ll need a combination of the following:

Turmeric: It’s very hard to find a savory Moroccan dish that doesn’t include turmeric because of its unique taste, color and benefits. Fun fact, even some dessert recipes include it like the famous Chebakia.

Cinnamon: I love adding cinnamon to meatballs because it gives them so much flavor. 

Black pepper and salt: These two spices are a staple all around the world because no dish is complete without them.

Oil: Oil is an essential ingredient in all Moroccan tagines. You can always use vegetable oil or olive oil. Personally, I always prefer vegetable oil because it has a lighter taste.

Chili Powder: If you like spicy food, you can add some chili powder to the meatballs.

Vegetables and Aromatics

To create the flavorful base for the Moroccan meatballs tagine, you’ll need the following:

Fresh tomatoes: The base of the sauce is made from tomatoes only usually, but for my recipe, I like to always use onion in both the sauce, and the meatballs because it adds a delicious sweet taste to them, and takes this tagine to a whole new level. Once you try it, you won’t be able to make tomato sauce without onion again. For the tomatoes, you can use fresh or crushed tomatoes, but the fresh, the better.

Red or white, or yellow onion: You can use whatever onion you have in hand. I like to use red onion most of the time though because it has a stronger taste and complements the meatballs and the sauce very well.

Fresh flat-leaf parsley and coriander: Parsley and coriander are used with the meatballs and adding them is optional. I make both versions, with and without them, and they both taste amazing.

Moroccan Meatballs Tagine

How to Make Moroccan Meatballs Tagine

Preparing this meatball or Kefta tagine is the easiest. The process will take 10 minutes in total only.

Preparing the Sauce for The Tagine

Start by heating the oil in the tagine. Sauté the onion until soft, then add the tomato and flavorful spices. Put on the lid and let it cool until it heats up for 6 to 8 minutes over low heat.

Preparing The Moroccan Meatballs 

Preparing the Moroccan meatballs is yet another super easy thing to do. You just have to mix the meat with spices in a large bowl until well combined. Add the onion and mix them again.  Shape the meat mixture into small meatballs. Add them to the tagine, and cook them until they’re done. That’s it!

Can I Make Kefta Tagine if I Don’t Have The Tagine Pot? 

Yes, absolutely! If you don’t have a tagine pot, you can still prepare the recipe in a large skillet, a slow cooker, an instant pot, or a Dutch oven and it will surely taste great. This is a great recipe that you can prepare when you are on a time crunch as it can be ready in less than 30 minutes, or you can cook it for hours in your slow cooker while you run your errands.

Can I Freeze This Tagine? 

You can leave this tagine in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days, then simply heat and serve it. I’ve never tried freezing it, but feel free to do it, I’m sure it will remain good, but I don’t recommend you freeze it for more than 1 week.

Cooking Techniques and Tips

When it comes to cooking the Moroccan meatballs tagine, I prefer using a traditional clay tagine to achieve the best results. The slow and gentle heat distribution of the tagine helps infuse the meatballs with the rich flavors of the spices and herbs, creating a tender and succulent dish. 

I find that allowing the tagine to simmer on low heat for an extended period further intensifies the flavors, producing a mouthwatering dish that’s sure to impress. Don’t worry, even when cooking over low heat, your tagine will be ready in about 20 minutes if you are using turkey meatballs, and 30 minutes if you are using lamb or beef meat.

Moroccan Meatballs Tagine

Serving and Enjoying Moroccan Meatballs Tagine

This dish kofta tagine is very versatile because you can serve it in several different ways. In Morocco, we always serve it with bread, but you can also serve it with steamed rice, and couscous, and I think it will taste great with pasta as well. If you are in the mood for a sandwich, you can also prepare it like a meatballs sub, or stuff the meatballs in pita pockets and serve them Another variation that Moroccans love to add to change it up is cracking some eggs on top, or adding preserved lemon, or green olives on top. Personally, I liked it as they are, it taste delicious just as it is.

If you want to take dish this to a whole new level, then you must try it with the traditional Moroccan fresh mint tea. Thank me for it later!

Moroccan Meatballs Tagine with Tomato Sauce – Kefta Mkaouara

Are you looking to add some exotic flair to your culinary repertoire? Look no further than the Moroccan meatballs tagine. Join us as we explore the tantalizing blend of ingredients and cooking techniques that make this dish a standout in Moroccan cuisine. Get ready to embark on a flavorful journey through the tastes and aromas of North Africa.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Course: dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Morocco
Keyword: dinner, lunch, tagine
Servings: 2

Ingredients

The Tomato Sauce

  • 1/2 red or white onion finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 large tomatoes finely chopped or pureed
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • Pinch of salt

The Moroccan Meatballs

  • 8 oz beef, lamb or turkey meat minced
  • 3 tbsps fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon ground
  • 1/2 red or white onion finely chopped
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

The Tomato Sauce

  • Start by heating the oil in a tagine pot.
  • Add the onion and sauté it for 3 to 4 minutes until soft.
  • Stir in the remaining sauce ingredients. Put on the lid and let it cool over low heat for 6 to 8 minutes until heated.

The Moroccan Meatballs

  • Combine the meat, parsley, and spices in a bowl. Mix them very well until combined.
  • Add the onion and combine them well. Shape it into bite size balls.
  • Add them to the sauce.
  • Cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until the meatballs are done.
  • Serve your tagine hot and enjoy!

Notes

  1. If the sauce is too thick for your liking, add to it some water or chicken stock, but don’t add it from the beginning. Don’t add it until the end, and only if needed.
  2. If you are using ground turkey meat, take it off the heat as soon as the sauce starts to thicken because it cooks very quickly.
  3. If you are using lamb or beef instead, they will take 10 extra minutes to cook.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Moroccan meatballs tagine offers a delightful blend of flavors and textures that is sure to tantalize your taste buds. From the aromatic Moroccan spices to the tender meatballs and savory sauce, this dish is a true culinary gem. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or simply craving a taste of Morocco, this Moroccan meatballs recipe is a must-try. Embrace the rich, exotic flavors of Moroccan cuisine and transport your palate to a world of culinary delight with this meatball recipe.

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