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
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.
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.
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 it's 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.
(Now, if only they could teach the French how to simplify the names of their recipes.)
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.
A tagine is very similar to the dutch oven in the way your food cooks in them. The cone shape allows for steam to rise up and then condenses and fall back down into the pot. 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, and you've got 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 1 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 Mediterranean chef.
- 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 as soon as they become soft, add the peppers.
- 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 into the tagine 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 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 pretty much the star of the mealtime show, which is precisely as it should be. Still, there are a few things I've found that complement the meal in the 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.
I hate fish, what can I use instead?
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.
I don't have a tagine, how can I make this?
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 keep in mind 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.
What can I use instead of cilantro?
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.
What is harissa?
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.
For More Mediterranean Dinner Ideas Check These Out
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Moroccan Fish Tagine
Fish fillets poached in a spicy tomato sauce, an abundance of vegetables and chickpeas. This Moroccan Fish Tagine is the perfect topping for couscous and it is done in 30 minutes! Delicious and healthy doesn't get any better!
- 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 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.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 383Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 99mgSodium: 547mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 6gSugar: 4gProtein: 47g
Oh my goodness, this recipe takes me right back to Marrakesh!
Wow!! Yum this sounds good and I enjoyed reading about the tagine for cooking also. There is so many flavours packed into this dish, I am loving each of them! Thanks for a great healthy, recipe.
Delicious and a comfort meal for sure. All the yummy flavors infused in this dish. Fish is one of my favorite meal too.
We love Moroccan food. This fish tagine looks fabulous! Now to find a tagine to cook it in.
Thank you ♥️! If you're looking for a great tagine, there's a link in the recipe card to the same tagine I used for this recipe.
Nart at Cooking with Nart
I don't usually eat fish but I made this dish for my dad and tried it too and wow, it was so good! So flavorful and my dad loved it 🙂
I'm happy to hear from you both enjoyed it! ♥️
Do you use tagine pot directly on gas burner or are you using electric range top. I’m afraid to crack or break my tagine pot. Also, what kind of boullion; chicken, vegetable? Thanks
I used my Tagine pot on an electric range. However, the Emile Henri tagine can be use on gas, electric and on induction with an induction disk. If you have the same tagine as me then I wouldn’t worry. Keep in mind when using a tagine on the stove you must heat it first on a low heat and then increase the heat once warmed. If you have a good quality tagine it should be able to handle the heat, but if you have decorative tagine you CANNOT cook with it. As for the bouillon I used a vegetable bouillon powder. I have a quick video on my Instagram in the highlights with the steps of this video.
I had to make a few adjustments because my husband can't eat spicy food. I reduced the amount of harissa and garlic but added some preserved lemons. Despite the changes, it was delicious.
I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe, and those adaptions sound great!
Cooking now. I added olives, and my fish is flounder, as I couldn't get cod (and the flounder was on sale, woot!). I wish I had checked your blog while I was still at the store. I didn't expect them to have the same brand harissa (I didn't think they'd have harissa at all), and I bought the mild. Should have got the spicy, for sure! But it'll be yummy anyway. (I fell in love with harissa when Trader Joe's used to sell sardines in harissa. We don't have a TJ's near us, so I only got it once! Awesome on the much-made-fun-of avocado toast.) Thank you for the recipe!
I'm so glad you loved the recipe, and the adaptions worked for you. I recommend the Mina Harissa due to its availability in American supermarkets; many of the brands I love aren't easily accessible for most people.
This is an NYT Cooking recipe. At least credit your source.
It’s possible they have a similar recipe it’s a classic fish tagine from North Africa.
Sounds absolutely delicious. I’m wanting to prep ahead for visitors. Can. Freeze this dish?
I wouldn’t recommend freezing this recipe however it’s delicious the following day when stored in the fridge.
This recipe was delicious! I did alter it a bit, adding orange and white carrots and just a bit of preserved lemon to add a funky fermented flavor.
Those additions sound great! A citrus & carrot tagine is prefect for the winter. I might just have to give this a try too.
This looks wonderful, and I'm going to make it. My question is regarding the fish, do you defrost the fish first or put it into the tagine still frozen?
You can put it straight into the pot frozen, I actually recommend it.
Thank you for your quick response.
This recipe is amazing, delicious and easy.
Hi this recipes can serve with?
Hi Grace, you can serve this with a simple side salad with lemon & olive oil and of course some fresh bread. You can even serve this along side some couscous. I hope you enjoy.