How To Tagine

Preparing for a trip to Morocco I came across an article covering the tagine. Before I even set foot overseas I was obsessed with international dishes and this one, cooked in a dome-shaped earthenware pot of the same name, sparked my imagination.

A quick jaunt to Sur La Table closed the gap between myself and Marrakech as I set out to get a taste of the exotic. With a shiny new tagine I played around with a few recipes for Jaclyn and some friends over the weeks before my departure, as if I knew what I was doing!

But it was out in the historic souks of Marrakech that I encountered my first authentic tagine experience. A friend of mine knew of a place in Djemaa el-Fna where dining over the tagine was no less than a ceremony. It was a dimly lit cafe where belly dancers, in sheer skirts and charming bras, were swaying through trails of hookah smoke to the tunes of a hypnotic flute. We ordered the lamb tagine which came out sizzling on a bed of onions, carrots and garlic surrounded by green olives, dates, and preserved lemons in a rich oily sauce. This being my first meal in 21 hours I dug in eagerly. It was a surreal experience, chowing down, pouring mint tea late into the night.

Back in the states, I recently invested in a proper size tajine and made my first meal over the weekend. Maybe not as good as what you can find in the streets of Morocco, but I’ll get there!

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I first layered the bottom with onion rings, garlic and cinnamon sticks in a bath of olive oil, cardamom, and turmeric.

From there you sauté the mix with the lid off until onions are translucent, or a few minutes.

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I then added thinly sliced potatoes, whole tomatos, and a pinch of saffron and continued cooking until the spices were really aromatic. About 5 minutes.

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Lastly the fish goes on top with some slices of preserved lemon.

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As the apparatus serves to steam every inch of the dish, tagine is meant to slow cook on the stove (or fire pit!) between med-low to low. Cover and let simmer on the stove top for an hour.

IMG_2956Alhamdulillah! This is the end product. A fine dinner indeed.

Fish Tajine

  1. 1/3 cup of olive oil
  2. 2 lb White Fish
  3. Large onion, cut into rings
  4. 4 cloves of garlic
  5. 3 cinnamon sticks
  6. teaspoon cardamom
  7. teaspoon turmeric
  8. 4 new potatoes
  9. handful of cherry tomatos
  10. 2 bell peppers
  11. teaspoon salt
  12. pinch of saffron

Voila! Have you come across any dishes abroad that left a huge impression?

N. Andriani

15 thoughts on “How To Tagine

  1. Masha’Allah! That looks fantastic! The tagine is such a useful tool. Aside from the blender, it’s my second favourite item in the kitchen as everything that goes into it comes out tasting divine.

    In terms of dishes that left an impression: I went mad for 1) bitter gourd and 2) a fried lentil/jaggery ball while in India that I was determined to learn how to make. After many fruitless attempts, I haven’t come close to perfecting those dishes. Oh well…it’s the journey, no?

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    1. Shukran jazeelan! Haha, right! The tajine can do no wrong. It’s safe to say, sans electricity, tajine reins supreme.
      Ah, the bitter gourd! How did you have it? I’m actually very fond of bitter flavors so it’s on my list of foods to seek out. I need to research this jaggery ball. I can safely assume that like all Indian lentil dishes, this must be a treat also. Keep up the work. My first attempt making lamb tajine really missed the mark, a year later I’m cooking with the confidence of a Berber.
      Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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    1. Ah, the tajine!
      It’s become something like pizza in my mythology of food. Whip it up for a party or for binge-eating, while at the same time you can make the most refined, exquisit dish with tajine.
      Have you ever tried it?

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      1. Envy! I’ve only recently discovered a restaurant with tagine on the menu so, inshallah, i’ll find a more convenient method of consuming tagine. It’s really a blast to experiment with the dish though.

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  2. You’ve inspired me!

    I’m been drooling over a tagine for awhile now, but haven’t been able to justify buying one. I just put up a batch of preserved lemons and I’ve found a beer to brew with sumac, so the time might finally be right (after I buy a dutch cheese press.)

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  3. My goodness, that looks incredibly delicious! I saw you stopped by my blog, and I’m so glad you did because it led me to yours. You seem to have a lot of great stories and I can’t wait to read more of them!

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