Yvonne's tagine aux petits pois
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This is a recipe based on one that Yvonne learnt from her mother-in-law in the South-West of France in the 1970s:

Tagine aux petits

Since then it's been modified in light of what we've found on the web, but it still doesn't correspond to anything we've seen there. In particular, all the recipes we've found have been for diced meat, but this recipe uses meat balls. This allows us to add spices to the balls, which we think improves the flavour. We have no idea how it relates to authentic North African cuisine; if you have any ideas, please let us know.


quantity       ingredient       step
500 g       minced beef       1
35 g       onion       1
15 g       garlic       1
1 g       chili powder       1
2.5 g       cinnamon       1
2.5 g       cumminseed       1
1 g       pepper       1
10 g       salt       1
75 g       onion       2
20 ml       oil       2
400 g       diced tomatoes (tin)       3
50 g       tomato paste       3
15 g       garlic       3
10 g       salt       3
2 g       pepper       3
0.5 g       saffron       3
500 ml       water       3
200 g       carrots       4
200 g       potatoes       4
150 g       shelled peas       5


  1. Finely chop onions, press garlic, pulverize cinnamon, cumminseed and pepper as necessary. Mix together and make balls of 2 to 3 cm diameter.

  2. Finely chop the onion and fry in a tajine until glassy.

  3. Crush garlic. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, salt, pepper, saffron and water to tajine. Bring to the boil.

  4. Cut potatoes and carrots into 3 to 4 cm lengths, and add them and the meat balls to the tagine when it is boiling. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

  5. Add peas and simmer for another 5 minutes.


Serve in the tajine. My impression is that nothing else is needed, though some recipes suggest bread. Surprisingly, I haven't found any that use Cous-cous.

On 2 May 2013 I also added 40 g of Chile poblano with the peas, because I had them. Clearly they're not typical of the dish, but they fitted in quite well.

Other recipes

While researching this overhaul of Yvonne's old recipe, I found a number of recipes that look interesting:

Tagine or Tajine?

You'll find the word spelt either as tagine or as tajine. Which is correct? Neither, of course: it's really طاجين. Google prefers tajine for some reason, but there are more hits for tagine aux petits pois than for tajine aux petits pois. The pronunciation is the same whichever way you transliterate it, like the Russian ж, which corresponds to the s sound in English “Pleasure”. Paradoxically, the Russians appear to spell it incorrectly as таджин, though the (more correct) spelling тажин is also attested.

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