My boyfriend’s sister and I share the same name – this is the dish she served me a few nights ago…I was so impressed by this yummy meal by a non-vegan that I had to ask her for the recipe, but Becca confessed to being an impulsive cook who doesn’t really measure anything so I had to take home the left-overs and dissect the ingredients one by one. After much questioning, examining & tasting, here is my replica of her Tagine! The only thing we can’t agree on is whether to use Figs or Dates (Becca insists she used Figs, where as I’m sure they were Dates), so decide for yourself – but don’t leave out the dried fruit as it is the Secret Ingredient in this dish, adding delicate sweetness. You will be pleasantly surprised at how there is so much flavour in one mouthful, without the use of even one dried herb or spice…
1/2 Onion, sliced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tblsp. Ginger, minced
1 small Red Chilli, chopped
1 Eggplant, halved & sliced
1 large Carrot, halved & sliced
2 cups Cherry Tomatoes, halved
4-5 dried, pitted Dates/Figs/Apricots
1x tin of Lentils (or dry Red/Green Lentils, but add earlier & with more water)
1/2 Tblsp. Soy Sauce
1 – 2 cups Baby Spinach, torn
handful of chopped, fresh Mint
boiled Water, as needed (about 3 cups)
– In a large frying pan/sauce pan, sauté Onions in oil until beginning to brown. Add Garlic & Ginger, and sauté another 30 sec. then add Chilli, Eggplant & Carrots and keep cooking on medium heat until they begin to soften and brown.
– Add in Tomatoes & Dates/Figs, and cover with Water. Boil on med-high heat for about 10 mins, then lower heat to a simmer, adding more water if needed, and partially cover with a lid. You will need to keep adding water while it cooks, to prevent vegetables from sticking. Allow to simmer for atleast 2 hours, until vegetables have cooked through, dried fruit has almost disintergrated, and sauce has reduced.
– Add in tinned Lentils about 20 mins. before serving, again increasing water if needed. Add Spinach & Soy Sauce about 10 mins. before the end of cooking time, stirring to combine.
– Fold in Mint and allow flavours to blend for about 10 mins., before serving with cous cous/farro.
*If you are using the bulbous, dark purple Eggplant (and not the long, thin, light purple one), then you will need to salt the pieces and leave them in a colander to sweat for atleast 20 mins, before rinsing, drying & cooking. This takes away its bitter flavour.