Chicken Tagine with Dates and Honey

My friends, Fiona and Loma, came to visit a few weekends ago and Fiona brought this wonderful dish.  I asked her about the recipe and she said it was from the Australian Women’s Weekly Middle Eastern cookbook.  I do not have the book but I thought I would see if I could find it on the net.  Sure enough, I found it on the blog, Madagascar Manna.  It appeared to be the same recipe, so I thought I would give it ago.  It was lovely.  I highly recommend it. 


  • 1 kilo chicken thigh fillets  (Both the recipe and Fiona’s dish used fillets but when I am cooking chicken in a sauce, I prefer to use chicken on the bone.  That is what I will do next  time I make this dish because it makes a richer sauce.  Consider using 1.5 kg of chicken thighs on the bone.)
  • olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1½ cups (375mls) chicken stock
  • ½ cup dates, halved
  • ¼ cup honey (I didn’t use this much)
  • ½ cup blanched almonds, toasted
  • coriander to serve
  1. Cut each piece of chicken into thirds if using fillets or, if you decided to go with thighs on the bone, leave as they are.
  2. Heat some oil in a pan and brown chicken in batches, set aside.
  3. Heat extra oil in pan over a low heat and add onions, garlic and spices.  Cook, stirring until onion is soft.  In my opinion, this takes much longer than recipes seem to indicate.  I like to really cook my onions so that there is no raw taste.  When all the oil has been absorbed, I usually add a bit of water, put the lid on and cook them for 10-15 minutes. 
  4. Once the onions are very soft, add the chicken and the stock to the pan, cover and cook until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  5. Check from time to time to make sure the dish is not drying.  If so, add some water.
  6. Remove the chicken from the pan and, with a stick blender, blend the sauce smooth.  The instructions do not say to do this but I always do – it makes a better sauce. 
  7. If sauce is a bit thin, return it to the heat and continue cooking until it is the consistency you desire.  If too thick, add some water.
  8. Add the honey.  (I didn’t use as much honey as the recipe said as it was starting to taste a wee too sweet for me.  Add half of the honey, taste, then add a bit more, tasting after each addition until you are happy with the flavour.)
  9. Return the chicken to the pan, add the dates and heat through. 
  10. Add the toasted almonds and coriander.

I served this dish with couscous and a bean casserole.  These recipes will be in the next posts.


10 thoughts on “Chicken Tagine with Dates and Honey

  1. I own that one too! Yes, it’s a superb book, but I thought you were honing in on Morocco, so I didn’t mention it. She does a masterful job of separating the food of each of the little provincial areas of what most of my fellow non-aware eater type US citizens mindlessly call, ‘Greek’ food.

  2. OK, you made me do a little research – and I misspelled her name, it’s Wolfert – and she now has 8 books out. Although I think this is a fine book (she lived for years in Morocco doing prep), this is her first one (1973) and she has just done a new Moroccan cookbook (think it’s called, The Food of Morocco – almost 600 pages!) I’d try for the newer one. The reviews on Amazon (US) are over 4s, and I see that some say that the newer book shares some of the same recipes/stories from the earlier one. I like her books because they are not just recipes – she obviously loves the culture and goes to great lengths to share that with her readers.

    She’s one of few US cookbook authors who regularly make appearances on various food forums – and she uses her own name when doing so. I think that’s quite brave.

    I really like her work.

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  4. Weird – for the last week I’ve been gathering info for the purchase of a tagine, the earthenware kind, and reading Paula Wolfort’s book, ‘Couscous, and Other Good Food from Morocco’ – I got into it and I can’t stop – so now of course, I’ve got to do some Moroccan dishes. Maybe this one! (don’t ya hate blog commenters who always promise to do your dish. It’s one step up from the ‘me too, me too’ comments!)

    • Hi Doc, I have a Tefal tagine which has a metal base and ceramic top. All the ceramic ones here are too small to be practical. I don’t have any Paula Wolfort cookbooks – must admit I have been tempted several times. Should I buy one and, if so, which one? I have a couple of books by Claudia Roden who is (sort of) the English equivalent. This recipe tastes great, although not particularly traditional.

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  6. I love Moroccan dishes but they are not everyone’s favourite as they can be quite sweet. I know Fiona likes Moroccan food as I have had one of her dishes before. When we were in Broome I nearly bought a cookbook called the “Morrocan Bible”. I have just found it on for $14.95 plus $5 delivery so not bad I might buy it.

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