Kefta Mkaouara: Moroccan Meatball Tagine

  • PrepTime: 30 Mins
  • CookTime: 1 Hrs 20 Mins
  • TotalTime: 1 Hrs 50 Mins


  1. For the Tomato Sauce
  2. 2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes
  3. Optional: 1 medium onions (chopped very fine)
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika 
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  7. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  8. 3 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
  9. 3 tablespoons cilantro (chopped)
  10. 3 to 5 cloves garlic (pressed)
  11. 1/3 cup olive oil
  12. 1 bay leaf
  13. For the Kefta Meatballs
  14. 1 pound ground beef (or lamb, or a combination of the two)
  15. 1 medium onions (chopped very fine)
  16. 1 small green pepper (finely chopped)
  17. 1 to 2 teaspoons paprika
  18. 1 teaspoon cumin
  19. 1 teaspoon salt
  20. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  21. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  22. 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
  23. 1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
  24. 1/4 cup fresh coriander (cilantro, chopped)
  25. Optional: 1 or 2 chili peppers
  26. 1/4 cup water
  27. 3 or 4 eggs


  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Peel, seed, and chop the tomatoes or if they're very ripe, cut the tomatoes in half, seed them, and grate them.
  3. Mix the tomatoes with 1 medium onion chopped finely (if using), paprika, cumin, salt, black pepper, parsley, cilantro, garlic, olive oil, and bay leaf in the base of a tagine or in a large, deep skillet.
  4. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium-low to medium heat. (Note: If using a clay or ceramic tagine on a heat source other than gas, be sure to place a diffuser between the tagine and burner.) 
  5. Once simmering, reduce the heat a bit and allow the sauce to simmer gently, at least 15 to 20 minutes but longer if you like, before adding the meatballs.
  6. Gather the ingredients.
  7. Combine the ground beef or lamb, onion, green pepper, paprika, cumin, salt, ground cinnamon, black pepper, cayenne pepper, parsley, and cilantro.
  8. Using your hands to knead in the spices and herbs, shape the kefta mixture into very small meatballs the size of large cherries—about 3/4-inch in diameter.
  9. Add the meatballs (and chili peppers, if using) to the tomato sauce, along with a little water—1/4 cup is usually sufficient—and cover.
  10. Cook for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is thick.
  11. Add the eggs to the tagine without breaking the yolks.
  12. Cover and cook for an additional 7 to 10 minutes, or until the egg whites are solid and the yolks are only partially set.
  13. Garnish if desired with fresh parsley or cilantro, and serve immediately. Enjoy!


  1. Kefta mkaouara is traditionally served from the same dish in which it was prepared, with each person using crusty Moroccan bread for scooping up the meatballs from his own side of the dish.