If you ever traveled or looked at pictures online about Morocco, you’ve probably seen or come across the word or image of a “tagine”.
Today i will explain in this article what is a tagine and how you use a tagine.
A tagine is a very traditional cooking pot that is used throughout Morocco and by many households.
It's a traditional way to slow cook meats or vegetables and the end result from cooking with a tagine is delicious! They are very easy to use and simple too!
How do you cook in a tagine?
Imagine you have your slow cooker at home, usually, you plug this into the electric socket, place in your food and set the time, and go!
With a tagine it’s different.
Depending on whether you are cooking with meat or just using vegetables, in general, you will remove the tagine lid, place inside the tagine the meat or vegetables or both, and put in your preferred spices. Some people like to add a little broth or oil to help the food sweat and stay moist.
You then place the tagine lid back on and place it inside the oven and as the tagine begins to heat and reach its cooking temperature, the steam inside of the tagine starts to slow cook the food, I'm getting hungry writing this haha!
A tagine is made from clay and made in the same way a clay pot is made. It starts off as wet clay and is eventually kilned at a high temperature to make the finished product.
Can i use a tagine in the oven?
Absolutely you can and in fact, this is the main way people use tagines to cook. You can also use a tagine on top of a stove or if you are camping on top of a bbq or open campfire.
As long as there is enough heat to heat the tagine then it will work accordingly and provide a slow cook process and you’ll have a delicious meal at the end of it.
What can you cook in a tagine?
There are many things you can cook in a tagine such as fish, chicken, lamb, beef, and vegetables. A tagine is not limited to cooking these types of food but it's what most people cook inside a tagine.
My favorite tagine is beef with prunes and caramelized onion broth. The broth is so delicious as it also has cinnamon added to it and i love to take a piece of homemade Moroccan bread and dip it in the broth and eat it, soooo yum!
For further taste and decoration, you can sprinkle some pine or almond nuts
What does tagine taste like?
Tagine, as i have mentioned above can be cooked using a variety of foods and depending on the food you choose to cook inside it, will give you the particular taste of the dish.
One on my favorite tagines is as mentioned above the beef and prune dish, this one is very savory and sweet and a good tagine to try out for the first time.
What is Chicken Tagine?
A chicken Tagine is very much made up with fresh chicken thighs or breast or even a whole chicken if you plan to serve many people.
It will consist of a broth and some vegetables such as peas, potatoes, and carrots.
Carefully selected herbs may also be used to flavor the tagine such as cumin, paprika, and coriander.
What is Lamb Tagine?
As with the Chicken Tagine, the lamb tagine will be primarily made with fresh lamb.
The use of vegetables along with a broth will be used to help with the slow cooking of the tagine and provide additional flavor.
You can also use couscous with the tagine but its not the best way to cook couscous as this is usually steamed in a large pot vs the clay tagine.
Does a tagine have a hole in the top? why?
Yes, all tagines have a hole in the top.
The hole's main function is to provide a place for the hot steam to pass out from the pot slowly and allows the food to cool down slowly after the cooking process has been completed.
It is also decorative and you will find many of the tagines in Morocco come in different colors and sizes.
What size Tagine to buy?
This entirely depends on how many people you intend to cook for.
For example, if i decide to go camping with my wife or just by myself, a small tagine is more than sufficient.
If i am hosting guests for example 4 people then a medium-sized tagine will be fine.
A large tagine will be more than enough for 6 people and will provide a wonderful meal for all to sit around and enjoy together.
Using a tagine is a beautiful and traditional way to cook food. I have a tagine we have had in our household for well over 8 years now and its still going strong.
Due to the way the tagine is made like a clay pot it is built to last many years.
Tagines are not expensive to buy and in Morocco, they are widely available in the souks and markets. They come in different colors as well for those that wish to style their kitchen with matching colored cooking utensils!
I hope you take a leap of faith next time you are in Morocco or indeed try cooking with one at home.
A slow-cooking pot will give you an idea of what to expect at the end of cooking with one. A dish that tastes deliciously good and with wholesome food nice and slow-cooked!
As we finish this article you should now know what is a tagine!