Tagine is a family favourite and tourist staple in Morocco. People travel far and wide in search of the best tagine, but how can you prepare your own? Read on to find out all you need to know about the tagine.
The first step to preparing your tagine? Buying a tagine pot. This is a clay pot that is made up of two parts; the bottom part is round and wide, the top part is a cone-shaped lid which helps retain heat and enhance ingredients to achieve aromatic and rich Moroccan flavours.
Preparing your tagine pot for use
There are a few kinds of traditional tagine pot. The two primary tagine pots are glazed and non glazed. The main difference between the two is that glazed tagine pots are ready to cook with, and non glazed are not.
At first glance, glazed tagine pots may seem like the best bet. They are made ready to go. However, a huge problem with glazed tagine pots is that most are in fact decorative and not safe to cook with. I have heard of people buying one only to have the glaze come off into their food or for the pot to be made of ceramic rather than clay. Ceramic pots crack over the heat of a stove, so be very careful to avoid glazed tagine pots purely for decorative use by double checking with the retailer of the product.
Non glazed tagine pots are not made ready to go. You must make the effort to 'season' the pot yourself. The following instructions detail how you can do this.
- Firstly, soak the tagine pot and lid for at least two hours, even better if you leave it to soak overnight.
- Then you have to coat the top rim and bottom of the tagine pot with olive oil.
- Next, pour warm water into the tagine pot and let it lie there for up to 24 hours.
- Then you need to pour the water out and let the tagine pot air dry.
- The bottom of the tagine then must be filled with salt water.
- Store the pot into the oven, then turn the heat up to around 250C.
- Keep the tagine pot in the oven for up to an hour.
- Once done, leave the tagine pot to cool in the oven.
- Take the cooled tagine pot, and re-coat the base with olive oil.
- You've finally made it! Your tagine pot is ready for use.
This may seem long and laborious but it is well be worth it. It is known in Morocco that a non glazed tagine pot will give you a better cooking experience, and the best tasting tagines. It gives an earthy taste to the dish, and something about it feels more natural. It's nice to know you'll be continuing the age-old tradition of tagine cooking the classic way.
Where can I buy a tagine pot in the UK?
There are a number of places to buy them, department stores such as John Lewis and Lakeland sell several different types. You'll also find them on Amazon as well as from independent sellers on Etsy.
Whether you choose to use a glazed or non glazed tagine, we'd love to see your creations. Share them with us on Instagram!