Tfaia tagine with onions, browned almonds and eggs (by Ghillie Basan)

Tfaia tagine with onions, browned almonds and eggs (by Ghillie Basan)










Making this recipe


  • Ghee 1-2 tbsp
  • Garlic Cloves, crushed - 2
  • Ginger ground 1tsp
  • Coriander Seeds ground 1tsp
  • Saffron Threads (ground with salt) 1tsp
  • Lamb Cutlets 1kg/2lb 4oz
  • Onions, finely chopped - 2
  • Brown Kalamata Olives, pitted 175g/6oz
  • Preserved Lemons, quartered - 2
  • Fresh Coriander, small bunch
  • Eggs - 4
  • Saffron Threads, pinch
  • Ghee 0.5 tbsp
  • Almonds, blanched 2tbsp

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This recipe is from internationally acclaimed cook and food writer Ghillie Basan who has very kindly allowed us to share this with you on our website. As well as the author of numerous cookery books, Ghillie runs innovative and inspiring, hands-on cookery workshops from where she lives in a remote outpost of the Scottish highlands – find out more about Ghillie, her books and workshops at: http://www.ghilliebasan.com

Originally from Andalusia, the tfaia tagines are popular in northern Morocco, particularly in Tangier. Their trademark is the pungent, nutty taste that emanates from a traditional rancid-tasting butter (I use ghee instead) combined with the floral notes of saffron.

1) Melt the ghee in the tagine, or heavy-based casserole pot. Stir in the garlic, ginger, coriander and saffron and roll the cutlets in it. Sprinkle the onions over the cutlets and pour in just enough water to cover the meat. Bring the water to the boil, reduce the heat, cover with a lid and cook gently for about one and a half hours.

2) Add the olives and lemon quarters and cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes to reduce the sauce. Season well with salt and black pepper.

3) Meanwhile boil the eggs in their shells for about 4 minutes, so that the yolk is just firm and shell them. Dissolve the saffron in 2 tablespoons of warm water and roll the eggs in the yellow liquid to colour them. Cut them in half lengthways.

4) In a skillet, melt the ghee and stir in the almonds until golden brown. Scatter the almonds over the tagine and arrange the eggs around the edge. Serve immediately with fresh, crusty bread and a leafy salad.