North African stew with bulgur salad

By Drum Digital
13 August 2014

This sweet and savoury meat stew is inspired by traditional North African tagines but is cooked on the stovetop instead of in the oven. Experiment with adjusting the spice combination to create your own signature dish if you like.

Serves 4-6

Soaking: 3 hours (for the salad)

Preparation: 10 min

Cooking: 1½ hours


50 g butter

1 kg beef or lamb

2 onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

5 cm fresh ginger, grated

2 cinnamon sticks

5 ml (2 t) ras-el-hanout (see tip)

7,5 ml (1½ t) salt

5 ml (1 t) black pepper

2 ml (½ t) turmeric

5 ml (1 t) ground cinnamon

45 ml (3 T) honey

750 ml (3 c) beef stock

150 g dates, pitted

extra salt and pepper (optional)

10 ml (2 t) chopped fresh parsley


140 g bulgur wheat, soaked in cold water for 3 hours

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 tomatoes, seeds removed, finely diced

handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped

small handful of fresh mint, roughly chopped

handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

juice of 1 lemon

20 ml (4 t) extra-virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

1  Beef tagine: Heat a large saucepan until hot, add the butter and the meat and fry for 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown (you may have to do this in batches). Remove the meat from the saucepan and set aside on a plate.

Add the onions, garlic and fresh ginger to the saucepan and fry until softened. Stir in the spices and seasoning and cook for one minute, then return the meat to the saucepan and stir until the meat is coated in the spices.

Add the honey and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 1 hour.

4  Add the dates and stir well. Continue to cook, uncovered, for another 30 minutes or until the beef is tender and the sauce has thickened. Add extra salt and pepper if you like and stir in the parsley.

Bulgur salad: Drain the bulgur wheat and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until well combined.

Serve with the stew.

Tip: To make ras-el-hanout, mix 5 ml (1 t) each black peppercorns, ground ginger, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and ground cinnamon. Add 1 ml (¼ t) each nutmeg, cardamom seeds, paprika, turmeric, salt and ground allspice. Add 4 whole cloves. Grind everything with a mortar and pestle until it forms a powder.

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