• Transform the sweet, sticky, fruity, Moroccan lamb tagine into crunchy, couscous-coated bite-size snacks

    Recipe by Leila Saffarian
    Photography by Dylan Swart

    Casablanca sunset

    Serves: 8 – 10
    Cooking Time: 2 hours


    • Tagine

    • 30ml (2 tbsp) olive or avocado oil
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 500g lamb shoulder, cubed
    • 5ml (1 tsp) ground cinnamon
    • 5ml (1 tsp) ground cumin
    • 5ml (1 tsp) ground coriander
    • 2,5ml (½ tsp) dried red chilli flakes
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • Maldon Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 60ml (¼ cup) honey
    • 100g dried apricots, roughly chopped
    • 100g prunes, pips removed and chopped
    • 500ml (2 cups) good quality lamb stock
    • Couscous

    • 640g (4 cups) cooked couscous
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 100g Parmesan, grated
    • oil, for drizzling
    • Topping

    • 30ml oil
    • 1 onion, thinly sliced
    • 200g flaked almonds
    • 100g (½ cup) suga



    For the tagine, heat the oil in a large tagine or pot over medium heat. Add the onion and fry until golden.


    Add the lamb and brown slightly, followed by the ground cinnamon, cumin, coriander, chilli flakes and cinnamon stick. Season well.


    Add the honey, apricots, prunes and lamb stock. Adjust seasoning, bring to a boil, then cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer until the lamb is tender and the sauce reduced and sticky, 1 hour – 1 hour 15 minutes.


    Remove from heat. When cool, shred the meat and combine with the sauce. Set aside until completely cold.


    Combine the couscous, egg and Parmesan in a large bowl, and season well.


    Take 15ml (1 tbsp) of couscous in your hand, fill with 5 – 10ml (1 – 2 tsp) meat, top with another 15ml (1 tbsp) couscous and roll into balls.


    Continue with the remaining couscous and filling. Place the balls in the fridge for 15 minutes.


    Place the balls on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle with oil and bake in a preheated 180°C oven until golden and crisp, about 25 minutes.


    Prepare the topping just before serving: heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion, flaked almonds and sugar. Cook over low heat until sweet and sticky, and drizzle over the tagine bites. Serve immediately.


    Keep a bowl of water nearby to prevent sticky hands while rolling the tagine bites.