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One of Morocco most popular cookware is the Tagine. Its popularized by its unique top funnel with its round base. Unlike most frying pan, the goal of a Tagine is to trap in moisture and flavor. Traditional Tagine Pot are made of fire safe clay. However, modern variation will include cast iron as its base. These variation are more durable and versatile and considered to be some of the Best Tagine Pot around.
Why use a Tagine Pot?
Aside from looking cool, Tagine actually serve a specific purpose, trap moisture. The conical top condense liquid and drips back down to the base. As steam rises, it will start to concentrate at the most part of the tagine. Once it becomes heavy enough, it will drip back to the food. This is why you rarely see any dry dish cooked in a tagine. Its most used for stews.
Traditional Tagine uses clay for their construction. Some might claim that the porous clay adds mineral and flavor to the dish. However, I contend that the clay adds no flavor and its just how its made.
Modern variation with a metal bottom are more durable and functional. While the old clay tagine can go on fire, they are a bit temperamental. Heat it wrong or you forget to season they clay, it can crack. Metal basically did away with all of that. Plus, it holds heat better.
Today, you have choices of Cast Iron, Nonstick, Aluminum, and even stainless Steel. My preferred choice is still cast iron because its great for searing and retaining heat. Nonstick and Aluminum are quick at heating up but they lose heat fast. Stainless Steel is also a good option.
Can You Cook a Tagine on the Stove?
Yes, you can use it on the stove. However, you should check the requirements for the specific Tagine. Some arent flame proof and those should be avoided. Traditional Tagine was always cooked over a flame. It kind of defeats the purpose if its not stove top friendly. Tagine with a metal base are generally stove top safe.
Caring for your Tagine
If you have a Clay model, you need to season it. Every manufacturer seasoning will differ but it usually invovle soaking with water and then coating it with oil. After that, you then bake it in the oven at 300 degree Fahrenheit for around 2 hours. Once cooled, it should be good to go.
Be aware that Tagine can crack under thermal shock. If you just cooked in it and place it on a cool table, the temperature shock can cause it to crack. Cast Iron models wont do this.
To wash it, use soap lightly and scrub as usual. Be sure to put it in a airy location so that mold wont form. If you can, wipe it with a towel before leaving it to dry.
Tagine Pot vs Dutch Oven
The Tagine Pot are very similar to a Dutch Oven. Both can be used for braising. However, in terms of versatility, a dutch oven wins hands down. They create more food and you can do more with it.
The main difference is that Tagines are supposed to be used as a serving dish. The round bottom is low for a reason. Its easy to grab food from the plate and its meant to be served at the table. Some Tagines are also small enough for individual serving. Every person will get their own custom Tagine.
Best Tagine Pot List
Below you will find a list of some of the Best Tagine Pot on the market. There are quite a few different configuration, choose one that best suits you.
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Moroccan Tagine (Best Overall)
Le Creuset Tagine is beautiful and functional. The Base uses a heavy cast iron for searing meat and retaining heat. Its more durable than your traditional Clay model and it wont crack under thermal shock. However, the top is still made of ceramic. While its pretty, it can crack if you are not careful. I wouldn’t go around slamming it.
Emile Henry Made In France Flame Tagine (Best Ceramic Model)
If you just prefer ceramic Tagine, then you cant go wrong with Emile Henry. Since the exterior and interior is glazed, you dont have to season it. They come in a range of beautiful color that rivals Le Creuset. These model uses Emile Henry Flame proof ceramic so you can use it on the stove just fine. Best of all, these are some of the few tagine that are made in France. Be prepared though, its a bit pricey.
Cooks Standard Multi-Ply Clad Stainless Steel Tagine (Best Stainless Steel Model)
Like stainless steel but worried about sticking? Luckily, most dishes cooked in tagines are stewed. So sticking is a minimal risk. This model has handles unlike the other model and it comes with a extra glass lid. This way, you get the best of both world. This model is oven safe as well, just in case you need to pop it into the oven.
Cast Iron Tagine Pot w/knob, Enameled Fire Red Cast Iron Lid (Best Buy)
While those other models are nice, they are a bit expensive. This generic brand uses a heavy duty cast iron construction and should cook as well as the rival. While the color isnt as nice as Le Creuset, it has some pretty decent color. Please note the lid is still ceramic, so you need to baby it. If not, it will crack defeating the whole purpose of the Tagine.
Tagines are the perfect stewing pot. They trap moisture and baste your food at the same time. Best of all, its iconic look will get compliments from all your guest. While the clay models are the most traditional, modern metal variation are better. They are durable and hold the heat better. I personally like Le Creuset, they provide durability and color. However, if you want ceramic, then Emile Henry is a good choice. The only bad thing is that these models are expensive. The good thing is that you can find generic variation for a fraction of the price.
Looking for more ethnic cookware? Check out our article on the Best Balti Dish.