Friday, February 19, 2010

On Tajine

tagine |təˈ zh īn; təˈjīn |
a North African stew of spiced meat and vegetables prepared by slow cooking in a shallow earthenware cooking dish with a tall, conical lid.
ORIGIN from Moroccan Arabic: ažin from Arabic ājin 'frying pan.'

Today was a momentous day in my Moroccan life. I cooked my first tajine.

I burned it.

Actually, that is not an entirely accurate statement. Through culinary ingeniousness I managed to both burn AND undercook it.

A tajine, for those who don’t know, is the traditional Moroccan dish, served in my region at almost every lunch, save couscous Fridays. I bought my tajine at souq on Wednesday for about $3 (Dh 25). The artisan who made it was from a dwar just 9 kilometers up the road from me and was so impressed that there was an American living in his valley that he took me around the souq to make sure I bought all the right spices and then spent a good ten minuets talking me through how to cook with it. Needless to say I shamed his teaching by not adding enough water and oil. Nonetheless it still smelled great. Live and learn.

1 comment:

  1. Did he also tell you that a tagine needs to be soaked in water overnight and then left to dry out to condition it before using it the first time? I hope so because that might have had something to do with what happened. And I imagine it takes a little experience not to have the heat up too high underneath the tagine, not exactly like cooking with pots and pans.