The Uncommon Life

International Foods Week: A Tasty Tagine

September 8, 2010

I was excited when I was asked to give one of our latest products, the ceramic tagine, a trial run.  As someone who enjoys cooking, I’ve always been intrigued by the tagine, but didn’t know too much about it. All I know is that it had a conical top (not sure why) and that it is a really beautiful piece.

Before deciding what to make, I did a little online research about the tagine.  The tagine is the name of the vessel and the name of the food dish you prepare – think “I made a casserole in the casserole.” Turns out, the cone is designed to encourage any steam to come back down into the food to keep it moist – perfect for braising. I was also looking for recipes for vegetarian tagines and saw a similar pattern – lots of veggies, layered in the bottom of the tagine, add spices, oil, liquid – then cook.  Not too complicated.

I decided since it is the best time of year to buy local produce at the market that I would just go and get whatever veggies look the best.  I ended up with tomatoes, okra, eggplant, potatoes, onions, red peppers and zucchini.


When I was ready to begin cooking, I took a quick look at the instructions again. Darn it! Turns out I was supposed to “prepare” my tagine before I could  use it.  This involves soaking the entire thing in cold water for 24-48 hours, letting it dry for a few hours, the rubbing the inside with olive oil and baking in a 300 degree oven for 2 hours.  The first step was definitely the trickiest since I didn’t have anything big enough to soak the tagine. Except for my bathtub!


Once the tagine was prepped, it was easy going.  I prepped all my veggies, and basically followed directions from there: layer onions and potatoes, pile the other ingredients in a “pyramid”, drizzle with stock and olive oil, sprinkle with spices.  The recipe card called for 1 cup of olive oil, which seemed really excessive, so I only used about 1/3 cup.  I also added spices that I thought would taste good – cumin, garam masala (a curry powder available at ethnic grocery stores), garlic salt, and smoked paprika. The directions then said to bring the liquid to a simmer over low heat, then cover for 30 minutes.  Add olives and raisins, then cover and cook for 10 more minutes.


I decided to serve my tagine with Israeli couscous, which is cooked just like small pasta.  Any rice, pasta or grain would have been delicious with the stew.  I also topped it with greek yogurt, fresh mint and lemon zest.  It was really hearty and delicious.


I really enjoyed using this piece of cookware.  As someone who has a fairly large collection of pots, pans, casseroles and dutch ovens, I think the tagine is not something I absolutely need, but I am sure I will use it again.  I love the way it looks and it is a beautiful way to serve food as well.  Since this piece is very versatile, I would appreciate it if I was someone who was building my cookware collection (it would make a great wedding, or housewarming gift).

Bon apetit, everyone!

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  • Reply Gil Prehm December 10, 2010 at 8:03 am

    thanks for that man! awesome idea, interesting read. ive been trying to convince my boys that we should have a proper curry night in instead of going out every week, and actually did it last week. awesome success it was, i tell you! i found a tasty korma and a few others from this curry recipes site, and even made the naan myself too. who said guys cant cook!

  • Reply Alexis December 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I was wondering,does the tagine you used has a vent hole in the pyramidal lid or if it is just a solid lid?
    Great feedback on your cooking experience!

    • Reply cassie January 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      Thanks for the question, Alexis! Soaking the tagine in water helps keep food moist. The clay absorbs the water and provides the right moisture balance during cooking. Since this moisture balance is important, there is no hole or vent in the lid, otherwise the water would evaporate too quickly and the food could dry out.

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