[Recipe] Chicken Tagine w/Black Garlic & Preserved Limes

This is quite a quick tagine recipe in that, typically, in my childhood when I would watch my mum cook a tagine-style meal it seemed like it took forever, although worthwhile. When you’re really young, everything always seems that way. 

But, fret not, here’s a tasty chicken tagine recipe that can easily be added to your weeknight meal planning and it doesn’t take three to four hours. The addition of black garlic is my secret and gives this dish a semi-tangy and sweet flavour that pairs well with the acidity of preserved citrus and the distinct saffron taste. 

A few notes beforehand:  

If you don’t have saffron, just omit it. Although I suggest investing in saffron in the future, there really is no true substitute (for its flavour, not colour) so it’s best to just omit it rather than trying to sub it. 

Don’t have a tagine? No problem, this recipe can easily be cooked in a deep large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven.  

Lastly, if you are pressed for time and cannot marinate the chicken for the time mentioned in the recipe, then cover the chicken in the spiced mixture just before you brown it. Of course, the longer the chicken macerates in the spices the better, but it will still come out tasty if you don’t have the time. I like using bone-in chicken thighs with skin on, as they are much more flavourful and juicier for this, but use your preference. 

Moroccan Chicken Tagine Recipe

Chicken Tagine 


chicken thighs, 4 to 6 pieces 

½ teaspoon ground ginger 

2 teaspoons dried parsley 

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped 

2 cloves black garlic, thinly sliced 

1 cinnamon stick 

1 teaspoon smoked paprika 

½ teaspoon turmeric 

½ teaspoon ground cumin 

1 teaspoon salt, divided into ½ teaspoons 

2½ tablespoons olive oil 

1 preserved lime or preserved lemon, sliced 

4 medium onions, thinly sliced 

12 to 15 kalamata olives, pitted 

355 ml (1½ cups) water 

½ teaspoon saffron threads 

1 teaspoon lemon juice 

1½ tablespoons freshly chopped coriander leaves  

1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper 


Yield: Serves 4 to 6 persons.

Prep: Use a knife and slice a preserved lime (or preserved lemon) in 6 to 8 slices.  



  1. 1. In a small container, mix the ginger, paprika, parsley, cumin, and turmeric together. Cover both sides of the chicken thighs with the spice mixture. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour. 

  1. 2. Meanwhile, add the olive oil to a large skillet. On medium heat, add the onions to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, then lower the heat and add in the chopped garlic. Cook a further 5 to 6 minutes or until onions are slightly browned and garlic is fragrant. Add ½ teaspoon of salt, and black pepper to the skillet and stir the onions to mix. Remove the onions, keeping the remaining oil in the skillet, and place the onions in a tagine. 

  1. 3. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Add the chicken to the skillet on medium heat, and use the remaining oil in the skillet to brown both sides. Switch off the heat, and remove the chicken from the skillet. Place the chicken on top of the onions in the tagine. 

  1. 4. Add a cinnamon stick to the tagine. Sprinkle the saffron threads, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt over the chicken.  

  1. 5. Place the black garlic slices, olives, and preserved limes (or preserved lemons) in the tagine.  

  1. Pour the water and the lemon juice into the tagine. Cover tagine with a lid. Over low heat, cook for 30 to 35 minutes, until chicken is done. Carefully remove the lid, and use a spoon to drizzle the juices of stock over the chicken. Garnish with fresh coriander to serve. 

  2. 6. Serve over a bed of couscous. 


Chicken Tagine Recipe

This is an original recipe by Madison of FASHION TALES blog, and part of a culinary book series. View more food inspiration here.