Kefta Tagine with Chickpeas and Yuzu

Tagine of Spicy Lamb Meatballs
With Chickpeas and Yuzu
Served Over Couscous
Garnished with Red Chile, Cilantro, and Mint

The inspiration for this awesome recipe came from the little cookbook, TAGINE: Spicy Stews from Morocco, by Ghillie Basan. They used this dish for the photo on the cover of the book. It looked so tasty, within minutes of pulling this book off the shelf, I was off to the butcher for some fresh ground lamb. And since my yuzu tree is full of ripe fruits, I decided to use yuzu (a Japanese citrus) in place of the lemon in Ghillie’s recipe. I made some other changes to her basic recipe, including the omission of butter and the addition of chickpeas. With all the spices, herbs and citrus, this dish is a real winner.

The fragrant ripe yuzu fruit, this one went into the tagine!

Making Lamb Meatballs called Kefta

I made good use of the food processor for this dish. First I chopped an onion in the processor, reserving half for the sauce, then processing further to get a grated consistency for the meatballs. Add the grated onion to a pound of ground lamb. Run a bunch of parsley in the processor (no need to clean the food processor after each step). Combine parsley and spices with the lamb and onion. Mix by hand.

  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • 1 t. ground coriander
  • 1 t. hot paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

Next I put a piece of stale baguette in the processor to make breadcrumbs.

Add breadcrumbs to the ground lamb mixture. Mix well by hand.

Form meatballs.

Making the Sauce

Prepare about 2″ knob of ginger,  a couple red chiles and about 4 garlic cloves.

Place these in the food processor until well chopped.

Sauté the reserved chopped onion in olive oil.

When soft, add the chile ginger mixture, sautéing for a few more minutes.

Add  2 t. ground turmeric then add rough chopped cilantro and mint.

Add 1 1/2 c. water and bring to a boil.

Add kefta and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Add the juice from one yuzu plus one sliced yuzu fruit sans seeds.

Cover and simmer another 10 minutes.

Add chickpeas (canned are fine) that have been drained and rinsed.

Stir gently and heat through. Adjust seasoning.

Meanwhile prepare couscous.

Intensely Flavorful Kefta Tagine

Spoon the fluffy couscous into bowls.

Ladle in all the ingredients from the tagine, including plenty of broth as the couscous drinks it up!

Garnish with red chile slices, fresh cilantro and fresh mint.

20 thoughts on “Kefta Tagine with Chickpeas and Yuzu”

  1. That looks like an excellent book. It looks like the stew is jumping right out of the page! And, your adaptation looks like it’s jumping right out of my screen! (But sadly, not to contact my tummy 🙁 )

  2. your tagine is beautiful, i have one just like it!!! your meatballs look so good until you added the cilantro. they really look delicious, especially with your home-grown yuzu.

  3. Lori Lynn – love the look of this recipe – I am a BIG fan of all these Middle Eastern flavours 🙂 The additions of yuzu makes this sensational!

    Am liking your new home too. I also JUST finished transitioning to WordPress (eeek – today!!!) and only had 8 months worth of posts to transfer so I am so impressed at yours all coming over and looking stunning – Congrats and happy housewarming!

  4. Love the new site, Lori Lynn. The tagine looks fantastic. Do you think it tastes different when made in a tagine rather than a Dutch oven? I’ve been thinking of buying a tagine…

    1. Hi Penny – probably not this dish, although I really like cooking in a tagine. Love cooking and all the different vessels, including this one. Variety, the spice of cooking!

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