“This tajine is a one-pot masterpiece – tender lamb with fragrant spices, vegetables and olives. Try and cook it over charcoal for best results. Remember, if you haven’t used your tajine for a while, soak it in cold water first.” Maeve O’Meara, Food Safari Fire






Skill level

Average: 3.8 (21 votes)


  • ½ tsp saffron threads
  • 185 ml (6 fl oz) warm water
  • 2 tbsp ras el hanout
  • 1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) lamb shoulder (on the bone), chopped with bone into 6 cm (2½ in) square chunks
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) olive oil
  • 1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ bunch coriander (cilantro), leaves picked, roots and stalk chopped
  • 2 large truss tomatoes, 1 sliced, 1 chopped
  • 12 French shallots, peeled, halved if large
  • 8 baby (Dutch) carrots, scraped and washed
  • 8 baby potatoes
  • 90 g (3 oz/½ cup) green olives, unpitted
  • ½ bunch flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, leaves picked and chopped
  • 2 tbsp roasted argan oil 

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Set up the majmar (outdoor charcoal cooking burner) and heat up the coals until red and glowing – a little flame but no smoke (equivalent to about half a turn on a gas stove).

Place a frying pan over medium heat. Put the saffron threads in foil, fold into a parcel and place in the pan. Roast gently for a couple of minutes, turning once, until fragrant. Remove from the heat, open the foil and let the saffron cool. Soak the saffron in 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) of warm water and set aside.

Place the base of the tajine over the coals to heat.

In a large bowl, rub the ras el hanout into the lamb pieces to coat well.

Heat the olive oil in the tajine and add the lamb. Brown on both sides until caramelised, covering with the lid after turning the meat.

In a small bowl, combine the ginger and turmeric and stir into remaining 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) of warm water. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the garlic, coriander roots and stalks and the chopped tomato. Season with salt and pepper, and add the French shallots, carrots, potatoes, saffron liquid and ginger/turmeric water. Mix together.

Remove the tajine lid and turn the meat. Then surround the meat with the herbed vegetables, alternating each piece (e.g. carrot then onion then potato then carrot, etc), supporting the meat into a pyramid shape. Space the ingredients evenly with presentation in mind, as this is how the dish will be served.

Spoon over the liquid from the vegetables, ensuring you don’t fill the tajine too much – as the vegetables will give out liquid as they cook.

Cover the tajine and add some more hot coals to replace any cooling ones and to accelerate cooking time. Continue to cook for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, open the lid and cover the lamb with the tomato slices, then place the olives around the edges of the tajine, sprinkle with parsley and coriander and drizzle over the argan oil.

Re-cover and cook for a further 5–10 minutes – the coals should be at a lower heat to finish off your tajine.

Remove the tajine from the heat and serve while still steaming with some crusty bread and a fresh salad, and finish your meal with some Moroccan mint tea.



• Use all organic ingredients if possible.

• The night before, soak your terracotta tajine in water so it absorbs the moisture in preparation for cooking over charcoal.


Recipe from Food Safari Fire by Maeve O'Meara (Hardie Grant, hbk, $55).  Photography by Kaily Koutsogiannis.


Food Safari Fire starts Thursday 7 January 2016 at 8pm on SBS. Visit the program page for recipes, videos and more.