The tajine: A whole tradition
The tajine is an emblematic dish of Maghreb cuisine, particularly in Morocco, a kind of stew, in which vegetables and meat are cooked in. It is also named after the utensil, conical-shaped container, in which it is cooked. Although common in Algeria and Morocco, the tajine is of Berber origin and, according to experts, it is in Berber territory that you can eat the best tajines.
Traditionally, tajines are made with clay, the food, put in the tajine, simmered over low heat, is steamed and stewed in a hollow plate covered with a conical lid. The result is incredible: the food cooked in this tajine dish is very tasty and is like melting in your mouth, to the delight of food lovers, especially for meat that keeps all its softness. The pointed shape of the lid has been designed to allow cooking without water, in order to preserve all the flavors of the food. The steam from the food condenses on the lid of the tajine dish and then falls back onto the food, which is then moistened.
A Moroccan family dish
The tajine is, by tradition, a family and convivial dish. It can also be eaten during celebrations and special occasions in order to gather the whole family around a traditional meal. The family members sit around a round table with the tajine placed in the middle. The lid is removed and each person picks directly into the dish with a piece of bread. Because it has to be said, Moroccans eat mostly everything with bread.
The word tajine, when referring to food, therefore refers to food that has been cooked in the tajine dish. There are a very large number of different tajines: from chicken, beef, lamb and fish tajines to fruit and sweet-savory tajines, there’s something for everyone. There is even a vegetarian tajine! And as said before, slow cooking, in the tajine allows each food to absorb the aromas of all the others. Each house has its own recipe, but the objective remains the same.
Lastly, just like couscous, the tajine is an emblematic dish in Moroccan restaurants!