MOROCCAN TAGINE: AN INTRODUCTION TO COOKING WITH A MOROCCAN TAGINE POT
One of Morocco’s greatest culinary achievements is it's tasty tagines. This hearty, healthy stew cooks and simmers in a uniquely designed pot of the same name. But what makes the tagine pot so special? Does Moroccan tagine have to be cooked in a tagine pot?
Here’s a primer on the tagine pot and its importance in Moroccan cuisine.
Moroccans have been using tagine pots for hundreds of years. Typically made from clay or ceramic, the two-piece pots feature a wide, shallow base covered by a conical or dome-shaped top, creating an oven-like effect.
The tagine pot is one of Morocco’s truest art forms. The pots are still largely made and decorated by hand, some of which are made strictly for serving while others are intended for cooking.
Tagine pots work similarly to Dutch ovens. You place the food in the circular base, then place the dome-shaped piece on top. This unique design creates a moisture-rich environment that stays hot without drying out the food. As the food cooks in the base, steam rises in the tagine cone condense, then trickles back down into the base.
As a result, you can get away with using less liquid in your cooking since the tagine produces an endless cycle of steam. The food slowly simmers until it’s fork-tender, sealing in the best flavors of your meal.
This two-piece ensemble isn’t difficult to use, but it can take some getting used to, especially if you want to prolong the life of your tagine pot.
For starters, tagines are mostly used on stovetops. When cooking on a stovetop, you’ll need to keep the heat on a medium or low setting to avoid burning the food. Also, place a diffuser (a thin metal plate or paddle) in between the pot and the heat source to diffuse the heat and reduce the risk of your pot cracking or breaking.
You can also use a Moroccan tagine in an oven. If you choose this method, it’s important you cook in a tagine that was made for cooking, as the high heat may damage the finish or design.
Tagines can also be used over small open fires or grills. It’s harder to maintain a consistent temperature with this method, so keep the fire small and only feed it small amounts of fuel to keep the fire burning.
Extreme temperature changes can cause your tagine to crack. For example, you won’t want to take a tagine straight from the oven and place it on a cold surface. If your tagine is cool before you start cooking, place it in the oven before you turn it on and let the two heat together.
Tagine recipes offer major convenience, which is one of the reasons why people love them. For example, you don’t have to brown your meat prior to cooking in a tagine. Just add your ingredients and let the pot do the rest. Everything simmers together equally, so there are no adding ingredients at different cooking stages.
Are you ready to transform your cooking with a tagine pot?
The best tagine pots are equal parts cooking vessel and work of art. Our stunning tagines are handmade by Moroccan artisans using traditional methods and ethically sourced materials. Every tagine reflects the rich Moroccan culture, so you always have a piece of history in your kitchen.
Explore the Marrakesh Gardens collection of handcrafted Moroccan tagine pots and start cooking!