Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Moroccan Pottery Part One: Tagines

I have always been fascinated and intrigued by Morocco. The more I learn about it, the more I want to know... I've cooked Moroccan recipes, I've been to Moroccan restaurants (If you live near Denver check out Mataam Fez. They have amazing food and a fun experience!), I've collected books about Morocco, and since buying a Moroccan Wedding Blanket (shimmery and magical!) from Maryam, I'm a regular reader of her blog, My Marrakesh. I can't figure out how I've never looked into Moroccan pottery, which it is famous for. Again, the more I'm learning about Moroccan pottery, the more I want to know! It is so multi-faceted! There are gorgeous design elements influenced by Berber, Spanish, French, Islam, and Portugal. Beyond the design, there are pottery pieces and there are tiles. Because it is so multi-faceted I'm going to break it down into parts. 

Moroccan Pottery Part One: Tagines
Tagines are a culinary dish, and also the name for the pottery it is cooked in. In Morocco, the word 'tagine' means 'stew'; I think of it as a crock pot of sorts. A tagine consists of two pieces- a wide, deep plate, and a cone shaped lid with a knob at the top. These are examples of great tagines by Clay Coyote, found HERE on Etsy. The description says a lot about tagines, so I included that with the photos.

"The tagine is rooted in Moroccan history and symbolic of Moroccan cooking. The big advantage of the Clay Coyote flameware based tagine is that you can do any high temperature pre-cooking like sauteing onions, garlic, etc., then lower the heat to cook the traditionally simmered tagine all in one pot! This enhances the flavors, and makes for easier clean up.

Tagines are traditionally done on the stove top so the moisture condenses on the cool top and drops back into the dish. The lid on the Clay Coyote tagine is specially designed inside to encourage this condensation. The necessary moisture loss (to thicken the broth) occurs in the fit between the lid and base.

Here is a link to our blog for a wonderful Moroccan spice blend, La Kama.
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Some tagines have more detail and intricate designs, like the one below, however, they are used for decoration or serving, not the actual preparation of a tagine.

This tagine can be found and purchased HERE.

Next up: Moroccan design!

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