Test Driving a Tagine

Test Driving a Tagine

Tagine. The very word conjured up a magical mirage of Marrakesh and Casablanca, dashing Berbers and belly dancers, hookahs and saffron-laced spicy stews.  I gazed at the overpriced albeit charming hand painted glazed clay artifact in the Williams Sonoma store, and in a fit of self-indulgence, bought it. My children were less impressed. “It’s a pot”, explained the world weary, newly minted college graduate. The beatnik teenager sniffed the air hopefully, “Mom bought pot?”

• Online, opinions and advice flew in, fast and furious. You’ll need a heat diffuser for the stove top. Don’t place it in a preheated oven. You have to temper it first. Just use it as a serving dish. The clay will leach heavy metals. Never wash it until completely cooled. Intimidated, but determined, I applied the same (lack of) logic I use to call upon divine spirits to bless our laboratory research. I soaked the tagine overnight, then rubbed in some olive oil, and baked it for an hour despite a strong suspicion that the glazing on the pot made this exercise unnecessary. I sent my husband to the store for some tagine spices. Prudently, he purchased every exotic mix he could find: Harissa, Za’atar, Ras-el-hanout.  The aromas were all-too familiar though: cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon. “Mom, you’ve been had”, the 14 year old wisely concluded, “It’s Garam Masala”.

• Clean up was a breeze!  My husband dug into his plate, saying “Mmm…all it needs is some lamb”. He was assigned dish washing duty for making mischief.

For Shinae Choi Robinson ‘s African Food Cookalong  ▶ http://goo.gl/P00Ej

Recipe: https://madamescientist.wordpress.com/2013/04/27/test-driving-a-tagine/

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62 Responses to Test Driving a Tagine


  1. YUMMY!!! Maybe I will give this a try!

  2. Rajini Rao says:


    Maria Soledad Velastin , the slow cooking inside the tagine gives the dish a wonderful flavor. It should work with a crockpot or clay oven too.

  3. Rajini Rao says:


    Good food and company to you and yours, Ali Adelstein 🙂


  4. I am going to cook this one Rajini Rao Maybe it will come out almost as good as yours.

  5. Rajini Rao says:


    Oh, nice! Let me know how it turns out, Cheryl Ann MacDonald . Of course, you can add chicken and other meat to it.

  6. Rajini Rao says:


    Only a little heavy metal, Jim Carver 😉


  7. I am not sure about how much of the spices to use & the couscous may not turn out so well.


    The veggies are great & no problem (I will make next week because I go a farmers market out here every friday) I keep you posted. Thanks Rajini Rao 

  8. Rajini Rao says:


    I used about a teaspoon each, Cheryl Ann MacDonald . My kids don’t care for too much. I used boxed couscous, plain, and followed the directions on the package. Use a fork to break up the clumps later.


  9. Copied the above comment 😀  (I will forget) Ty

  10. Reva Clavier says:


    This would be great with lamb added.  Also, I like to add a little fruit, raisins or chopped dried apricots.  You’ve inspired me.

  11. Rajini Rao says:


    Reva Clavier , I thought of the chopped nuts and fruits too late. Next time, I’ll add them 🙂


  12. Thanks for sharing such a good dish. ♨

  13. Jim Carver says:


    Rajini Rao Heavy metal? Naw, I don’t listen to Bon Jovi…I’m more of a Simon and Garfunkel. Getting stoned in the kitchen is not out of the question however. Just as long as I don’t get stuck in the mud. 🙂


  14. This looks amazing!  AND it shows me one more way to use Brussels sprouts!

  15. Rajini Rao says:


    Brussels sprouts are great roasted..I do sneak them in wherever I can 😉

  16. Jim Carver says:


    Oh good, then I can sneak this in: My collards from last year that I never cut are blooming. All these pretty little yellow flowers and I’m going to have a lot of seed. That’s a really tough cultivar in Brassica ,they can handle heat and cold better than most others.

  17. Rajini Rao says:


    That’s early..so you’ll get to harvest leaves now? I just planted a few collard seedlings (don’t recall the variety), along with spinach and other greens.

  18. Jim Carver says:


    I probably could harvest the leaves because they are in good form still. Still supple and not too woody. It’s such a pretty plant though I guess I’ll mostly leave it alone and harvest seeds. As it completes its life cycle later in the year it will probably die naturally. Broccoli will of course do this right away in the first year. Collards are more tied to their biennial roots I think.


    The Brassica spp. are great in that you can safely eat everything. I haven’t tried the root yet, but I’m sure you could grind it and boil it. No doubt medicinal as well. And there’s a variety to fit every climate almost.

  19. Jim Carver says:


    Rajini Rao While your point was well taken and the comment last week was only said in joust. I have used and listened to heavy metals in the past. Lighter atoms, such as lithium have taken up my daze lately.


    I’m on a new quest now. The perfect cookpot that last not 100s or even 1000s, but millions of years! What a boon to the manufacturer. They can make one or two and know that’s about it. But their design will live forever. I’m thinking polished cut diamond. That’s really about as durable as it gets and as long as you don’t got it too hot…it should last forever.


    Only thing is I need to get the cost a little lower than $1 billion. I think with improved manufacturing techniques, we can easily get this under $100 million in ten years. I’m very confident.

  20. Rajini Rao says:


    A pot to crown them all, Jim Carver 🙂


  21. oooh… it looks delicous!!!

  22. Rajini Rao says:


    Thanks, Fiona Antonacci ..I’ll save some for you 🙂


  23. Yumm… you have a way with words Rajini Rao …reading this makes me salivate… especially when …you slip into British phonetic spelling e.g. “…belly dancers, hookahs…”  That’s British phonetic right?  “Hookah”… as in “pressure cookah” ?? (Should that be “dance-ahs” too?)

  24. Jim Carver says:


    Not many people know this John Christopher but she picked that up on the dance circuit. ;~)

  25. Rajini Rao says:


    LOL, you two get demerits! I’ll have you know that I’m quite prim and propah.

  26. Jim Carver says:


    Isn’t that like fine and dandy? I’m not sure you can be both at the same time. 🙂

  27. Rajini Rao says:


    As the old saying goes, candy is dandy but liquor is quicker 🙂

  28. Jim Carver says:


    But the drunker they are, the harder they fall!


  29. This looks delicious, Rajini Rao!  I want to try it, but not sure if I can find tagine spice mix here in Sri Lanka. Can I substitute with cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and coriander powders but then you are adding some of them anyway. What do you suggest? Will let you know how it turns out. Thanks for the recipe!

  30. Sherri Vance says:


    I’ve missed your posts! (Got out of the google+ habit.) I love the word “tagine.” And of course the pictures and story are wonderful.

  31. Tom Lee says:


    Looks good and healthy. Yummi !

  32. Jim Carver says:


    Actually, to tell the truth…the first thing I wanted to say was that I would want to eat the salad tray. That’s really the first thing I thought of.


    It was such a nice looking tray you see. Some of it wouldn’t have made it to the pot around here no matter what it was made of…:)

  33. Sandi D says:


    sounds like a nice dish

  34. Rajini Rao says:


    Siromi Samarasinghe , I’ll get you some tagine spice mix when you visit next! Meanwhile, here is a link to Janice Mansfield ‘s blog on the African cookalong. She made her own spice mix and the recipe is here: http://realfoodmadeeasy.ca/2013/04/lamb-tagine-african-food-cookalong/


    Ras el hanout literally translates to “best of the shop”, and it can have dozens of ingredients, some of them obscure, that we’re not going to find in Western blends. According to Wiki, “In the past, ras el hanout sometimes included cantharides in its ingredients, for its aphrodisiac properties, but use of this ingredient in spice mixtures was banned in Morocco in the 1990s”. Cantharides are Spanish Fly..now that would make an interesting science post!

  35. Rajini Rao says:


    Moore couscous, or shall we have some rashid el hanout spice, Rashid Moore ? 🙂


  36. Rajini Rao thanks for posting the link!  Your tagine looks fabulous!  and I looove the storytelling.  “you’ve been had! Its Garam Masala” made me giggle 🙂

  37. Rajini Rao says:


    You are my inspiration, Shinae Choi Robinson . If it wasn’t for your Cookalong, this tagine would still be sitting pretty in the cabinet 😛 Now, I’m planning to use it for Indian cooking as well..it was so much fun.

  38. Mary T says:


    That sure looks good, Rajini Rao ~

  39. Deeksha Tare says:


    I loved the blog post! And all the pictures!


    Yet another awesome meal!!!! 🙂


    Yummm!

  40. Gretchen S. says:


    Oh, it’s beautiful! I’m glad it came out well.


  41. All are tasty food items.


  42. It makes my mouth water!!!!!

  43. Rajini Rao says:


    Delighted that you enjoyed this, thanks! 


  44. Any good indian recepies.

  45. Rajini Rao says:


    Yes, indeed Christy Reilly . I’ve posted Indian recipes on G+ but they are easier to find on my foodie blog: https://madamescientist.wordpress.com/about/


    Let me know if you have questions about any of them.

  46. Babu Banda says:


    waav very nice meem..

  47. MOHA ELAIM says:


    it is very beautful in my contry

  48. Babu Banda says:


    very very nice meem..

  49. Md Juhirol says:


    verrey verry nice mam….

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