Moroccan tfaia tajin with onions and eggs

Moroccan tfaia tagine with onions, browned almonds and eggs

Moroccan tfaia tagine with onions, browned almonds and eggs

Originally from Andalusia, tfaia tagines are popular in northern Morocco, particularly in Tangier. Their trademark is a pungent, nutty flavor that emanates from matured, clarified butter called smen which is an acquired taste for some people. The recipe works just as well with ghee, which is ordinary clarified butter.


  • 1–2 tablespoons ghee or smen 
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed 
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander 
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads, ground with a pinch of salt 
  • 1 kg lamb cutlets 
  • 2 onions, finely chopped 
  • 175 g black Kalamata olives, stoned 
  • 2 preserved lemons, cut into quarters
  • leaves from a small bunch of fresh coriander, chopped 
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve: 

  • 4 eggs 
  • ½ teaspoon ground saffron, or a pinch of saffron threads
  • ½ tablespoon ghee or butter 
  • 2 tablespoons blanched almonds 
  • crusty bread

Serves 4 


  1. Melt the ghee in a tagine or heavy-based casserole. Stir in the garlic, ginger, ground coriander and saffron, and roll the lamb cutlets in the mixture. 
  2. Sprinkle the onions over the cutlets and pour in just enough water to cover the meat. Bring the water to the boil, reduce the heat, cover with a lid and cook gently for about 1½ hours. 
  3. Add the olives and lemons and cook, uncovered, for about another 20 minutes to reduce the sauce. Season well with plenty of salt and black pepper and toss in the chopped coriander. 
  4. Meanwhile, boil the eggs in their shells for about 4 minutes, so that the yolk is just firm, and shell them. Dissolve the saffron in 2 tablespoons warm water and roll the eggs in the yellow liquid to color them. Cut the eggs in half lengthways. 
  5. In a frying pan, melt the ghee and stir in the almonds until golden brown. Sprinkle the toasted almonds over the tagine and arrange the eggs around the edge. Serve immediately with crusty bread.