Tagine: The Medley of Morocco

Tagine is a Moroccan word with a dual meaning. The word is used to describe a conical, earthen cooking vessel and the word is also used to describe the dish that is made within this vessel. Tagine, the Moroccan stew, is flavorful, warm, soft, and spicy with a  tempting aroma. So essential is this dish to the region, that it has been named the national dish of Morocco.

History of Tagine

The origin of the tagine is debated. Some believe that it dates back to Harun Al-Rashid’s rule in the 8th century where it was a staple diet, while others believe that it originated much earlier during the Roman Empire. There is another theory that suggests that tagine dates back to the Berber period and is actually a native Berber term. No matter where it originated, today tagine is a delicious dish imbued with history. 

Image Credit: Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay 

Appearance of Tagine

Tagine, at its most basic, is a kind of Moroccan stew. It is a thick blend of spices, vegetables, meats, and herbs. It has a warm, spicy, and subtly smoky aroma and may contain pieces of diced vegetables, chickpeas, potatoes, breadcrumbs, cooked meat, sun dried tomatoes, nuts, and other ingredients. 

Flavor of Tagine

Tagine has a sometimes sweet, sometimes spicy flavor that is dependent on the spices that are used. The wide variety of spices such as cumin, saffron, cloves, pepper, dried ginger, cinnamon, and the herbaceous flavors of parsley and cilantro makes it a multifaceted dish with an array of flavors. Combine these flavors with a plethora of vegetables and hearty meats, and it is no wonder that tagine is so popular. 

Image Credit: Samir Biscevic from Pixabay 

Culinary Benefits Of Tagine

Tagine is a complete dish in itself. Most people prefer having this Moroccan stew without any further additions while some like it with bread or couscous; it is entirely up to you.

If you have dinner arranged at your place, chicken tagine is a great meal for a crowd. The rich, smoky flavor of chicken mixed with the spicy and sweet gravy, paired with nuts and diced vegetables will have everyone asking for more. 

Image Credit: Flickr user veryvera ( CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )

Looking for a healthy dinner? Fish stew or fish tagine is a great way to get your veggies and lean proteins in one satisfying meal.  

Not a poultry or fish person? Try adding some additional spices to our classic beef stew to echo some of the flavors found in tagine. Adding cumin, cloves, cinnamon, and a little ginger allows you to enjoy all the warming spices in a traditional tagine stew, but without a tagine vessel. 

Best Ways To Store Tagine

While tagine tastes best when served fresh, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (the flavors may actually improve after the first day once they have a chance to meld). As with any stew, be sure to let the tagine cool completely before storing in a tupperware in the refrigerator. 

Feature Image: Flickr user Receitasparatodososdias ( CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 )

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