Skip to content
Open menu Close menu

Feed your appetite for cooking with Penguin’s expert authors

penguin logo

Spiced Lamb and Date Tagine

by Nadia Sawalha from Stuffed Vine Leaves Saved My Life

Inspired by a traditional Moroccan tagine, this recipe marries spiced leg of lamb with sticky dates. Stir in lemon and honey before scattering almonds and sesame seeds.

From the book


Of course it is fabulous to make this recipe in a traditional tagine dish, not only because it looks great but also because I think it tastes better too. Don’t worry too much, though, if you don’t have one — just use a heavy-based pan instead. (If you are using a tagine dish, you will need to put a heat diffuser underneath it or it will crack!)

Read more Read less


1kg (2¼lb) leg of lamb
A dollop of butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tsp each ground cinnamon and ground ginger
500ml (18fl oz) water
3 tbsp chopped dates
Salt and black pepper
2 tbsp runny honey
2 tbsp lemon juice
To serve:
8 fresh dates, stoned
55g (2oz) whole shelled almonds, toasted
1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

Essential kit

You will need a tagine dish or heavy-based pan.


Get your butcher to cut the lamb into even cubes about 14cm (1½in). Melt the butter and oil together in a tagine or heavy-based pan and seal the meat on all sides. Add the onions and cook them really, really slowly until translucent. Now you can add those heady spices and stir them until their aroma is released.

Pour in the water and drop in the chopped dates. Season well, then cover and cook really slowly until the meat is as soft as butter: 1—1½ hours. The most heavenly aromas will fill your home!

To finish, stir in the honey and lemon juice. Lastly, scatter on the fresh dates, then sprinkle on the toasted almonds and sesame seeds. Make sure you have plenty of bread to mop up the delicious sauce.


Subscribe to The Happy Foodie email newsletter

Get our latest recipes, features, book news and ebook deals straight to your inbox every week