Moroccan Meatball Tagine Recipe

Moroccan Meatball Tagine

Well-seasoned meatballs are cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. The meatballs can be made from ground lamb or ground beef. Eggs are an optional but classic addition to this dish. A classic recipe from Morocco, where it is called Kefta Mkaouara or Kefta Mkawra.

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 60 minutes


Tomato Sauce:

  • 3 medium-size onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, cut into 1 inch (2,5 cm) cubes
  • 1 cup (170 g) cooked chickpeas
  • 1 lb (450 g) canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp Ras-el-Hanout
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro (coriander leaves), finely chopped
  • 1 cup (240 ml) chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Meat Balls:

  • 1 lb (450 g) lean ground beef or lamb
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • 5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • salt and freshly ground pepper


Tomato Sauce:

Sauté sliced onions in olive oil for about 5 minutes over medium heat or until soft. Add the zucchini cubes and continue cooking until the cubes are nicely golden, about 10 minutes more. Add the Ras-el-Hanout and cook it until fragrant 2-3 minutes more. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, fresh cilantro (coriander leaves), chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Stir and cook it over low heat until pulpy, about 20 minutes.


Sauté onion in 2 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat or until soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside and let it cool.

In a bowl mix breadcrumbs, ground beef, onions, cinnamon, egg, salt, and pepper. With wet hands shape the meatballs to the size of a large walnut. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and fry them for 5-8 minutes or until brown on all sides. Lift them out and set them onto a paper towel to cool.


Add chickpeas and the meatballs to the tomato sauce. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes. Adjust the seasonings to your liking. Add water if the sauce seems too thick.

Serve with couscous or Middle Eastern bread.

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