It was 2012.
While the rest of humanity prepared for the Mayan Apocalypse, I was in the process of selling off ALL my belongings, the profits of which went towards a one-way ticket to Africa and a few months of vagabonding to, you know, “figure out my life.” While researching my first stop –a little known Kingdom called Morocco!– I came across an article about this peculiar dish called tagine. Growing up in an international family I’m naturally obsessed with global cuisine and this is my absolute favorite.
Even the name is sexy.
Say it with me, “Tah-Jeen.”
See! Don’t you feel more exotic?
No plans of visiting a Moroccan bazaar? A quick jaunt to Sur La Table will seal the gap between your grill and Marrakech as we travel together, in our shared craving for the exotic.
Oh, look at you with that shiny new Tagine. Welcome to a new you. Hi there. Here’s the thing. This is my favorite disk. Well, that I have personally made. so IMO, buying a tagine is a tremendous investment. Not only will you impress others but your abilities will be forever evolving. As this is one of the worlds most enchanting dishes.
But it was in the Kingdom itself that I had my first tagine. A friend of mine knew of a place, in a village way up in the Atlas Mountains, a day drive from Marrakech. The kind of place with rickety plastic tables, and shredded tarpaulins as tablecloths. Yet, where dining over the tagine was no less than a ceremony. It was dimly lit, in this crag on the mountain, in the banks of a river carrying icemelt from the previous winter.
We ordered the lamb 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 may be cliche but this truly was a surreal experience, chowing down, pouring mint tea late into the night.
The next evening I found myself lost in the ancient markets, stumbling down cobbled alleys and seeking to end the craving, like some junkie, shuffling for my next fix and finally with feverish delight slipping through the corridor of an invite-only restaurant: where belly dancers, in sheer skirts and charming bras, were swaying about as clouds of hookah smoke billowed about to the tunes of a hypnotic flute.
…good memories. #takemeback.
Now, back in the states, I’ve had to learn to master the dish for those frequent cravings. This is the most true, and most manageable recipe i’ve found online.
Image and recipe by the Ethnic Spoon
- 1/2 cup onion chopped
- 1 cup water
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 Roma tomato cored and diced
- 1/4 cup peas frozen
- 3 carrots sliced
- 2 Tb olive oil
- 1 tsp curry
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 Tb fresh parsley chopped
- 1 tsp Kosher salt (paleo diet: sea salt)
- 3 lbs chicken whole roaster cut into pieces
- 1 lb potatoes (paleo diet: sweet potatoes)
Et Voila! Have you come across any dishes abroad that left a huge impression?