This Moroccan inspired stew is a gorgeous combination of melt in the mouth aubergine and chickpeas in a rich, delicately spiced sauce flavoured with cinnamon, harissa and mint.
Traditionally made in a tall tagine cook pot, it works fine in a standard saucepan with a lid too, if you don’t have one of those.
If you don’t have harissa paste or spice mix, you can use a bit of chilli powder and some smoked paprika instead, but try to get it if you can, as it adds lovely depth of flavour.
Serve with couscous and a salad or green veg.
Do you need to salt the aubergines?
Aubergines can have bitter juices, and adding salt to them before cooking will help to draw these out. I find that as long as they are fresh, you don’t need to, but if they are looking a bit tired, or the flesh isn’t completely white when you chop them, then it might be safest. Place the diced aubergine in a colander or sieve, cover generously with salt, and leave over a plate for 5-10 mins. Rinse thoroughly before cooking to remove the salt.
The other important step is to make sure the aubergines are completely cooked through. Uncooked aubergine is awful! They should be completely soft and melt in the mouth. If they are tough or chewy, cook them a bit longer – it will make or break the dish!
- 1 large aubergine approx 250g, chopped into 2cm dice
- 1 medium brown onion or half a large one, finely diced
- 1 large courgette approx 200g, thickly sliced
- 1 stick celery sliced
- 1 medium carrot diced
- 2 cloves garlic finely diced or minced
- 1 400g tin chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp harissa spice
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp chilli powder
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp dried mint or 1 tbsp of chopped fresh mint
- 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 400ml vegan stock
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- salt and pepper to taste
- 200g couscous
- 1 tbsp olive oil for a low fat / oil free version you can use 1 cal spray oil or simmer the veg in a little water
- Prepare the vegetables and make up the stock
- Heat the oil in a tagine or large saucepan and add the onion and garlic. and sauté over a medium heat until they start to soften (around 3 mins). Stir frequently to make sure they don't burn.
- Add the spices and fry for a minute until fragrant.
- Add the vegetables, and stir to coat in the spices. Fry over a medium heat for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, stock, tomato purée, mint and chickpeas.
- Stir and bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are completely cooked through.
- Taste and add salt, pepper and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Meanwhile prepare the couscous. Put the couscous in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover the bowl and leave to stand for 5-10 minutes or until the couscous is soft, but not sticky or claggy. Break up with a fork.
- Serve the tagine over the couscous with a green salad. Enjoy!