Kefta Mkaouara with Poached Eggs
Beef,  Cuisine,  Main Course,  North/South African,  Recipes

Kefta Mkaouara {Moroccan Spicy Meatball & Tomato Tagine with Poached Eggs}

Kefta Mkaouara with Poached Eggs

I wanted to share one more Winter Thyme Spice Exploration dish before I mentally checked into Spring.  When I discovered Kefta Mkaouara, a traditional Moroccan tagine dish, it offered all the right components.  Lovely spices, fresh herbs, wonderfully seasoned mini-meatballs, and poached eggs all slow cooked in glorious tomato and olive sauce in our new Tagine.  Beautiful. 

Kefta Mkaouara

The word ‘Tagine’ can refer to the cooking method (slow braising of meats, chicken, or fish with vegetables or fruits) or the cooking vessel (an earthenware pot with a dome shaped cover, designed to return condensation to the bottom).  In this case I used both the method and the vessel.  This dish could easily be made on the stove top in a large deep skillet with a lid, however the tagine makes a lovely oven to table serving piece, perfect for a family style meal.

Mkaouara with Poached Eggs

For this recipe, the meatballs are slow braised in the tomato and olive sauce.  Near the end of the cooking time, the eggs are poached in the sauce.  While Kefta Mkaouara {Moroccan Spicy Meatball & Tomato Tagine with Poached Eggs} incorporates quite a few herbs and spices, this is not a hot & spicy dish.  Instead it’s an aromatic dish bursting with the flavors of cinnamon, paprika, and cumin.  We served ours with white rice, infused with a hint of cinnamon.  This meal would be wonderful served with Moroccan flat bread as well.

Kefta Mkaouara with Poached Eggs
Kefta Mkaouara with Poached Eggs

Kefta Mkaouara {Moroccan Spicy Meatball & Tomato Tagine with Poached Eggs}

adapted from Christine Benlafquih
Kefta Mkaouara has all the right components. Lovely spices, fresh herbs, wonderfully seasoned mini-meatballs, and poached eggs all slow cooked in a tomato and olive sauce.
4.72 from 7 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Entree
Cuisine Moroccan
Servings 4


For the Kefta (meatballs)…

  • 1 lb. ground beef or lamb
  • 1 small onion fine diced
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. hot paprika
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped

For the Mkaouara sauce…

  • 2 lbs. ripe tomatoes peeled, seeded, chopped or 2 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes)
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. hot paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 12-15 small green olives sliced

To serve…

  • 4 eggs for poaching
  • 2 cups cooked long grain rice
  • fresh cilantro and parsley for garnish


  • When using a tagine or dutch oven, preheat oven to 325 degrees.

For the Kefta (meatballs)…

  • Mix all ingredients until just combined. Do not overwork. Form into small meatballs, about 1-inch in diameter.

For the Mkaouara sauce…

  • In a large sauce pan over medium heat, combine all sauce ingredients (except green olives) and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. Transfer into bottom portion of the tagine.
  • Nestle meatballs into sauce. Sprinkle with sliced olives. Cover tagine base with lid and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • Remove tagine from oven, remove lid, with large spoon make 4 wells in sauce. Crack an egg into each well. Return lid and return tagine to oven. Cook for an additional 10 minutes until egg whites are set.

To serve…

  • Serve family style with rice and fresh cilantro and parsley.


  • AlexG

    5 stars
    I know this thread is a little stale BUT I’ve been trying to find a good recipe for this dish for ten years – since I had it in Marrakech. I made this tonight, served with some fresh made khoubz. Oh my … it took me right to the Jmaa el F’naa. The only change I made was substituting half a teaspoon of the sweet paprika with a half teaspoon of smoked sweet paprika. Thank you Libby! x

  • Mark

    3 stars
    This recipe was okay, but not one that I would make again. I like international foods and flavors (especially beef and cinnamon), but something was a little weird about these, they also fell apart too easily. The sauce was also odd, maybe because they were chopped and not a sauce. Oh well, it was a nice idea.

  • Amateur Chef

    Hi Libby, can’t wait to try this!! My fiancé bought me a tangine and this is my first tangine recipe I’m going to try out, wish me luck!! I had a couple questions… did the tangine you used have a hole for venting, mine doesn’t, but other recipes I looked at asked for a tangine with a vent?? Also, did you say you could use 2 14oz cans of diced tomatoes, so 28oz total??

    • libby

      Hi there. My tagine is not vented either, which makes for a nice moist cooking method. Yes, 2 – 14 ounce or 1 – 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes. I hope you enjoy this recipe and your new tagine.

  • Jasmin

    5 stars
    This was really excellent.
    I used cayanne instead of spicy paprika and it came out great.

    For some reason, by eggs cooked to quickly and were well done in 10 minutes, but it was still great.

  • Karen

    5 stars
    Mmmm…made this tonight for dinner. It was so good; made me feel like I was a a fancy restaurant. I will definitely made this again.

  • Mingwai

    5 stars
    This recipe was absolutely delicious – full of flavour and pretty much as good as lamb tagines I’ve had in Istanbul. Incredibly easy to make and looks fantastic on the table. Followed measurements exactly but accidentally cooked the olives in the sauce, though that just resulted in a wonderful flavour infusion so I would do exactly the same next time. Make sure to check the eggs before the stated 10 mins time so whites are only just set and the yolk is runny when served. Served it with cous cous.

  • Steph

    I love how many herbs and spices go into those meatballs. And then again in the sauce … my, oh, my – you are right! The combination would be an amazing, mouth-watering, flavour explosion. Definitely not bland!! I must try this :-)

    • libby

      Steph, I hope you get the chance to make it during your winter winds. You’ll love how it makes the kitchen dance with wonderful aromas too.

  • countdown722

    I am not sure what I did wrong! Maybe I will use lamb next time instead of ground beef. My 9 yr old adventurous eater daughter loved it and wants me to make it every year for her birthday, so thats good!

    • libby

      I’m glad your daughter loved this dish. Sometimes they are the best judges :) What did go wrong for you? Thank you for stopping by. Libby

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