How to cook with a tagine (2024)

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Tagine know-how Tagine tips FAQs

Just thinking of Moroccan food conjures thoughts of spicy, slow-cooked meat dishes cooked gently in one magical pot: a tagine.

The word tagine refers to both the conical-shaped dish and the food that’s cooked inside it, which is usually a blend of delicious sweet and savoury flavours. Traditionally the ingredients were packed into the pot, the lid was popped on tight, then it was cooked slowly over a smouldering charcoal fire. At home it’s cooked slowly in the oven or on the stovetop.

How does a tagine work

There are many types of tagines, but they all work the same way. The conical lid allows steam to circulate during cooking, which then creates condensation that drips back onto the meat, fish or vegies, keeping food moist.

Different types of tagines

Some tagines are designed for the oven or stovetop, while others are simply used as decorative serving dishes. Traditionally, tagines are made from earthenware, but these require special care, so for convenience many cooks prefer tagines made from metal or flameproof glazed ceramic.

What is a tagine recipe

A tagine recipe is a type of slow-cooked recipe that uses one pot, known as a ‘tagine’. Commonly featuring sweet and spicy flavours, tagine recipes traditionally hailfrom the Middle East and North Africa.

Tagine know-how

Like most slow-cooking methods, making a tagine is easy and requires very little work from the cook – the pot does it all! Follow these tips.

Getting started: Bring the tagine to room temperature before cooking – if you place a cold tagine, especially an unglazed earthenware tagine, on a hot surface it can crack.

Adding the ingredients: Lightly cook the onion and spices. Add the meat and pour over the liquid, then cover with the lid. Place in the oven or leave it to cook on the stovetop. Since the tagine creates steam as it cooks, you don’t need to add too much liquid to the dish.

Serving: The beauty of the tagine is that it’s a great serving dish, too. Just remember the base is hot so protect your table.

Tagine alternative: You can make a tagine even if you don’t have the dish – just use a deep frying pan with a lid or a flameproof casserole dish.

Tagine tips

  • Never put a tagine in the dishwasher – always hand wash your tagine after use.
  • Traditionally, tagines would be cooked over coals or open flame, but you can use them over gas flames, electric elements or even in the oven.
  • When heated, the ceramic expands slightly, sometimes creating small, thin cracks in the glaze. This is fine as it will improve the tagine’s resistance to temperature changes.
  • Store your tagine with the lid slightly ajar to allow for air circulation and prevent a build up of flavours.

Best tagine recipes:

See also:

How to cook with a tagine (2024)


Are tagines cooked in the oven or stove? ›

Never put a tagine in the dishwasher – always hand wash your tagine after use. Traditionally, tagines would be cooked over coals or open flame, but you can use them over gas flames, electric elements or even in the oven.

What do you cook with a tagine? ›

This traditional cookware is ideal for rich, slow-cooked stews of meat, poultry, or fish, and makes a perfect one-pot meal to share at a dinner party.

Does cooking in a tagine make a difference? ›

This is because of the pot — also called a tagine — used to prepare the dish. With its tightfitting, cone-shaped lid, a tagine steams the stew as it cooks, catching the rising, aromatic vapor and allowing it to drip back over the ingredients, thereby bathing them in their own juices.

What are the benefits of cooking in a tagine? ›

The lid design specifically helps steam accumulate at the top and naturally condense back into the food. This results in the food turning out more moist, tender, and flavorful! Because of this natural steam condensation, this cooking vessel works perfectly for stews and other water-based recipes.

What is the point of a tagine? ›

Tagines are ideal for cooking lamb on the bone, beef shank, bone-in short ribs and oxtail, with the clay pot “coddling” the meat to bring out the natural flavours.

Do I need to soak my tagine before cooking? ›

A terracotta tagine should be soaked in water for 24 hours before using for the first time. This step moistens the stoneware and helps protect against cracking when your dish is placed on the stove or in an oven. The length of cooking time for your tagine varies depending on the recipe and ingredients.

Does food taste different in a tagine? ›

When you cook in a Tagine you get the unique earthy flavor you can't get when you cook in a regular pot or pan. You can put a modern twist on any traditional dish or experiment with your own blend of ingredients.

Why do you put water in the top of a tagine? ›

Less water is required when cooking in a tagine because the cone-shaped top condenses steam and returns it to the dish. If you've erred by adding too much water, reduce the liquids at the end of cooking into a thick sauce because a watery sauce is not desirable.

Is it worth getting a tagine? ›

A durable cast-iron tagine is a great option for less-experienced cooks, since they don't crack or burn as easily as clay. They cook well over very high heat, too, and can even be thrown in the oven if you run out of space on the stovetop.

Should a tagine have a hole in the lid? ›

Some tagines have a small hole at the top of the lid that releases steam, meaning the sauce reduces as the steam escapes. But if your tagine doesn't have a hole, reduce the sauce by removing the lid in the last 15-30 minutes of cooking.

Do you stir a tagine? ›

Traditionally, you arrange the food and the meat in the middle and you pile the vegetables around it. You then put the lid on and leave to cook slowly over a charcoal stove (or in a conventional oven to you and me). Combine all the ingredients above into the tagine and stir well.

What is a fun fact about tagine? ›

The bottom of the tagine is used to maintain the heat and the pointed shape of the lid has been designed to allow cooking without water, thus retaining all the flavors of the food.

How to cook tagine in the oven? ›

Preparing your tagine pot for tagine cooking
  1. Soak the lid and the base in water in your sink overnight. ...
  2. Drain and dry and then rub the interior and exterior with olive oil. ...
  3. Place the pot and lid in your oven and turn the temperature up to 300 F/150 C, and leave it for two hours.

What is special about the process of cooking a tagine stew? ›

The genius of a tagine is that its cone-shaped lid traps steam while food is cooking. The steam then circulates back into the food as moisture. This cooking technique concentrates both flavor and aroma while keeping meats tender and buttery.

Can you cook a tagine in a Dutch oven? ›

It's slightly sweet and deeply savory. A tagine (the vessel itself) offers the added benefit of a subtle taste of the earth and showmanship: unveil the stew at the table and immediately fill the room with fragrant meat scents (sounds nice, right?). But a Dutch oven can get the job done too.

How is tagine traditionally made? ›

In rural parts of Tunisia, home cooks place a shallow earthenware dish over olive-wood coals, fill it, cover it with a flat earthenware pan, and then pile hot coals on top. The resulting tajine is crusty on top and bottom, moist within and is infused with a subtle smoky fragrance.

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