Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Middle Eastern spiced bean and date ragout

There was a reason I featured Moroccan tagine in my Vegan MoFo posts last year: I rarely make middle Eastern food despite being intrigued by it. 

Today's dish borrows from the tagine I made last year, but features a hefty dose of impromptu creativity too. I doubt it's the best ragout ever made and I make no claims to its authenticity (I am using 'middle Eastern' loosely!). However, I enjoyed it and am keen to record it for future reference. I particularly liked the dates and the balance of vegetables relative to beans relative to spices.

I started off with the idea of a carrot-based dish and so this features quite a lot of carrots. In the end, though, all of the ingredients played a role and carrots were one of many contributors. I think I'd like this with aubergine / eggplant in the mix too.

The dates were delightful in this and studded the dish with sweetness whilst balancing the spices beautifully. I used a mix of standard dried dates and medjool dates but whatever you have would be fine. Dried figs or apricots could be substituted if you prefer.

Middle Eastern spiced bean and date ragout
An easy meal to jazz up mid-week dinners
Serves 4

Author: Bite-sized thoughts

Drizzle olive oil
1 large brown or red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp dried powdered cinnamon
1/2 tsp dried powdered ginger
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp paprika
1/4 cup + 1/4 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 medium carrots, diced
2 peppers, diced
2 cups cooked beans (I used borlotti but haricot / navy, chickpeas or kidney beans would also work well)
2/3 cup dates, chopped

Rice, to serve 4

In a large pan, preferably one that has a lid, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the onion is golden and fragrant, add the spices and saute for a further minute.

Add the 1/4 cup water, lemon juice, carrots and peppers and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow to cook for 20 to 30 minutes, covered if possible, stirring occasionally.

Add the cooked beans and dates as well as extra water as needed (the mix should be quite thick but I found I needed nearly 1/2 cup water over the cooking time). Keep over very low heat for a further 5 to 10 minutes before serving with the rice.

Do you eat much middle Eastern food? Any suggestions for things I should try?


  1. I think you know I adore Middle-Eastern food! I'm really into sweet with savoury and make a root vegetable tagging with lots of dried fruit in. I love the look of your beany version.

  2. That's "tagine" not tagine. Darn autocorrect!

    1. I do always think of you when I consider Middle Eastern food :-) Your dishes are high on my list of things to work through and always look so delicious.

  3. I've become a big fan of carrots lately in all the things...but especially paired with these great spices! Such a richly tasty meal.

    1. Carrots go well with so many things :-) And thank you!

  4. I love middle eastern food and I LOVE dates in savoury dishes. Just a few add so much flavour.

  5. I have had a dried apricot and pumpkin tangine bookmarked for ages (and a lentil and dried apricot soup) so I understand where you are coming from - I like the idea of it but don't get around to making it often. I also love dried fruit in these sort of dishes so this looks like a great stew to me.

    When I think Middle Eastern I think of dips and falafel and great flat breads. But unlike other cuisines I don't have a section dedicated to this cuisine in my blog index. Maybe I also feel that there is so much good Middle Eastern food around in my local area that I am less inclined to make it myself - the dishes I would really like to try are Coconut and Berrie's faux meat pizza and also ful medames which I've seen on a few blogs.

    1. I'm pretty good with falafel and hummus and you're right, of course that's Middle Eastern too :-) I suppose it's more the African style dishes that I forget about. Emma's dishes on Coconut and Berries are great in this category.

  6. This looks like a really yummy meal. I love Middle Eastern cuisine but like you, I don't cook it all that often. I don't know why that is. I love the abundance of carrots in this dish and the dates would make it really tasty xx


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