Inspired by our trip to Morocco, this Moroccan kefta tagine with eggs is loaded with classic Moroccan flavors. With only about 30 minutes on the stovetop, serve it tableside in the tagine with crusty bread.
This Moroccan kefta recipe is also relatively easy to make. If you can make Italian meatballs, you can make kefta tagine. Even if you’ve never made meatballs before, this recipe can make you feel like a pro!
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Recommended kitchen products used in this recipe:
- Uno Casa Tagine Pot – Use this link to save 15% on all UnoCasa products. Discount applied at checkout.
- Zulay stainless steel garlic press
- OXO 9 Piece mixing bowl set
- OXO Peeler Set
- Heat diffuser
What Is A Tagine
A tagine is a cooking vessel used to cook the most famous of Morrocan dishes. A tagine dish includes all of the different types of meals that can be cooked and served inside a tagine.
This includes this Moroccan meatball tagine, as well as all of the other types of tagine cooked in Morocco – lamb, chicken, vegetable, and even fish. They can include olives and lemon or chickpeas and tomatoes.
We learned how to use a tagine when traveling in Morocco and even toured a facility where they make tagines. We learned how they make them, fire them, and even paint them. It made us want to learn how to cook Moroccan food at home.
What Is A Kefta Tagine
This was one of the best dishes we ate when traveling in Morocco. Kefta tagine, or kefta tajine, is a Moroccan meatball dish. Kefta meatballs are made with ground or minced meat, often lamb or beef.
In Arabic cooking, it is often referred to as kofta. They can be served in a kebab or a grilled meat platter. Although we ate camel meatballs in Morocco, it is more common to eat a kefta meatball tagine.
Check out our recipe for Moroccan Lamb Shanks Tagine With Apricots.
Ingredients For Moroccan Kefta Tagine With Eggs
One of the things I love about Moroccan cuisine is the use of seasonings without adding too much spice. Everything is flavorful without heat. That means the use of cumin (there is always cumin in a Moroccan recipe), paprika, turmeric, and a touch of ground cinnamon.
Any ground meat will work. It’s most common to find ground lamb or beef kefta in Morocco, but if you are trying to avoid red meat, ground chicken or turkey will also work.
I’ve found after living in Spain, I’ve become a lot more particular about the quality of the meat I use. Even simple ground meat I would prefer to know that it is high-quality beef or lamb. A great way to do this is to shop at a local butcher or to get a regular butcher box delivery service. That way you know more about where your meat is coming from.
Check out this Butcher Box Review to see if this is a good option for you.
Ingredients For Moroccan Meatball Tagine With Eggs
This kefta recipe may sound complicated, but it really isn’t. It takes about 20 minutes of prep time and about 30-40 minutes of cooking. When ready, the tagine tastes like it’s been cooking all day.
Any ground meat will work for the kefta meatballs. They are seasoned with cumin, paprika, and a touch of ground cinnamon. Most Moroccan dishes include cumin, which adds an earthy almost nutty flavor to dishes. In fact, most tables in Morocco don’t have salt and pepper. Instead, they have shakers of salt and cumin.
Be sure to dice the onions small to make sure that they don’t overtake the meatballs after they are cooked. I also like to use a garlic press to ensure there are no large pieces of garlic in the meatballs. Try the Zulay stainless steel garlic press, which is easy to use. There’s no need to even peel the garlic ahead of time.
A bit of roughly chopped parsley adds freshness and a touch of color to the meatballs.
Tomato Sauce For Kefta Tagine
The tomato sauce for the tagine includes many complementary ingredients to the Moroccan meatballs. This includes more cumin and paprika as well as turmeric. I like to add a bit of crushed red pepper to get a little heat, but you can skip the spice.
All of these seasonings are added to the whole, fresh tomatoes, along with additional parsley and cilantro (coriander). I also add a bay leaf or two to add a depth of flavor to the sauce.
How To Make A Moroccan Meatball Tagine With Eggs
How To Make Moroccan Meatballs
You’ll need two mixing bowls to prepare the meatballs and the sauce. We have this OXO 9 Piece mixing bowl set (with lids and strainers), which can also be used to store leftovers.
In the larger of the two bowls, add about one-half of the diced onion and one-half of the pressed garlic. Add the remainder of the onion and garlic to a medium-sized mixing bowl to prepare the tomato sauce.
Add the ground meat to the mixing bowl with the onion and garlic. Add cumin, paprika, and cinnamon along with a dash of salt and black pepper to the meat mixture. Add the chopped parsley to the bowl.
Using your hands, thoroughly blend the meat and spice mixture. When blended, form the meatballs by hand. They should be roughly 1 1/2 inches in diameter. A half-pound of meat should create about a dozen meatballs. Place them to the side while preparing the sauce.
How To Prepare The Sauce
Peel the skin from the tomatoes, grate them using a cheese grater, and then dice the remainder. This is probably the toughest part of this recipe. I start by using the tomato peeler from my 3 piece OXO Peeler Set. The red fruit and vegetable peeler is so much easier to use than a traditional vegetable peeler. Then, I use a grater on the skin-less tomatoes. This helps to almost juice the tomatoes. Finally, what I can’t safely grate, I dice up small.
Add the tomatoes to the medium-sized mixing bowl with the remaining onion and garlic. Add the paprika, cumin, turmeric, crushed red pepper, parsley, and cilantro. Blend with a heavy spatula to mix the seasonings into the tomatoes.
How To Cook The Kefta In The Tagine
Place the tagine on a stovetop on medium heat. Wait about 5 minutes for the tagine to warm. If using an electric stovetop, use a heat diffuser to distribute the heat. Add the olive oil to the tagine and allow it to warm.
Add the tomato sauce to the tagine, spreading it evenly. Add the meatballs to the tagine, placing them evenly around so that they can soak up the tomato sauce. They don’t need to be covered by the tomato sauce. They will actually lower themselves into the sauce during the cooking process. Add the bay leaf just on top.
Place the lid on the tagine. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 25-30 minutes.
Adding Eggs To The Tagine
Carefully remove the lid away from the face to release the steam. Crack 3-4 eggs into the tagine, between the meatballs. Replace the lid and cook for another 3-5 minutes depending on how well done you prefer your eggs.
If you leave the lid on for an additional 5 minutes the yolks will be fully cooked through. I like to cook them for 3 minutes so that the yolks are just a little softer, but not runny.
When ready, carefully move the tagine to the table for serving. Uno Casa Tagine Pot comes with a handy oven mitt to safely move the tagine. Be sure to use a heating pad or trivet underneath the tagine as it will be hot.
- 1 lb or 500 grams of ground beef or lamb
- 1 small onion, finely diced (1/2 cup for meatballs, remainder reserved for sauce)
- 4-5 garlic cloves, minced or pressed (1/2 for meatballs, remainder reserved for sauce)
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin (1/2 tsp for meatballs, remainder reserved for sauce)
- 2 ½ teaspoons ground paprika (1/2 tsp for meatballs, remainder reserved for sauce)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped (1/2 for meatballs, the rest for the sauce and garnish)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (extra credit for Moroccan olive oil)
- 3-4 large tomatoes, grated (see note above)
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt (dash for meatballs, remainder for sauce)
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 3-4 eggs
- Dice the onion, adding one-half to a large mixing bowl for the meatballs and the other half to a medium-sized mixing bowl for the tomato sauce.
- Mince or press the garlic, adding one-half to the mixing bowl for the meatballs and the other half to the mixing bowl for the tomato sauce.
- Add the ground meat to the mixing bowl with the onion and garlic. Add cumin, paprika, and cinnamon along with salt and black pepper to the meat mixture. Add the chopped parsley to the bowl.
- Using your hands, thoroughly blend the meat and spice mixture.
- When blended, form the meatballs by hand. They should be roughly 1 1/2 inches in diameter. A half-pound of meat should create about a dozen meatballs. Place them to the side while preparing the sauce.
- Peel the skin from the tomatoes, grate them using a cheese grater, and then dice the remainder (see notes above).
- Add the tomatoes to the mixing bowl with the remaining onion and garlic.
- Add the paprika, cumin, turmeric, red pepper (optional), parsley, and cilantro. Blend with a heavy spatula to mix the seasonings into the tomatoes.
- Place the tagine on the stovetop on medium heat. Wait about 5 minutes for the tagine to warm. If using an electric stovetop, use a heat diffuser to distribute the heat.
- Add the olive oil to the tagine and allow it to warm.
- Add the tomato sauce to the tagine, spreading it evenly. Add the meatballs to the tagine, placing them evenly around so that they can soak up the tomato sauce. They don’t need to be covered.
- Add the bay leaf.
- Place the lid on the tagine. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 25-30 minutes.
- Carefully remove the lid away from the face to release the steam. Crack 3-4 eggs into the tagine, between the meatballs.
- Replace the lid and cook for another 3-5 minutes depending on how well done you prefer your eggs.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 793Total Fat: 51gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 29gCholesterol: 424mgSodium: 1000mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 5gSugar: 8gProtein: 64g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.
Additional Tips For Serving A Moroccan Kefta Tagine
Serve the kefta tagine with a bit of spicy harissa if you like things hot, along with a crusty bread to sop up the sauce. If you don’t have access to Moroccan bread, any crusty bread or baguette will work.
This recipe serves 2-3 people as a main course. Serve it alongside a Moroccan salad to serve more people.
It can be cooked in a small to medium-sized tagine. If you have a larger tagine, as we do, you want to ensure the base of the tagine is covered with sauce, deep enough to allow the meatballs to soak in. I cheat a little bit to ensure the meatballs don’t dry out. I add about a half-cup, or maybe a little more, of tomato puree, like passata, into the sauce before adding the meatballs to give the tagine a little more coverage.
For more about Moroccan cooking and to learn about our Moroccan food tour, check out these posts: