Above is Amina making a tagine in her house. I just happened to pop round at the best moment. A tagine is the name given to the earth pot with the pointy lids the stews are made in. In the top of the lid is a round hole. Not many people know this, but the round hole at the top of the lid is for you to put cold water in to keep the vapours of the stew returning to the stew. Many people however just stick their spoon in the hole.
The tagine above is a Berber Tagine. Now a big secret that i have found from many tagines being burnt on the bottom is this; if you are using your tagine dish on the hob you need to place a metal plate under it to act as a conductor. These tagines are traditionally made on a little charcoal fire.
How to make a Berber Tagine - olive oil, onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, salt and pepper. Fry these ingredients for a little bit then add the meat and brown. This one was chunks of beef. After add water and leave meat to cook until tender. You may have to top up with water regularly. Cook on low simmer.
When the meat is nearly ready layer on top, tomato, potato, carrot and sometimes courgette if you fancy (but it cooks very quickly) in slices. Replace the lid until all veg is steamed. You can also add chopped fresh parsley at this stage.
Serve with flat bread and steaming mint tea. The bread should serve as your cutlery which is why the Moroccans eat so much of it.
In the same way you can do a vegetarian tagine, as above but add more tomato.
Other tagines I LOVE -
Chicken, lemon and olives
Lamb and apricots
Beef and sweet potatoes - really good
Beef, prunes and almonds
Poached egg and tomato - the best one actually
Mincemeat and tomato
If you would like any of these traditional Moroccan recipes, drop me a post and i will consult with the chef.