Tagines and Couscous are to
Moroccan cuisine what woks and rice are to Chinese food. Tagines are earthenware pots typical of the
country; they are round and deep, and have tall conical lids of the same
material. By extension, they also refer to slowly cooked stews prepared in
During our stay at a Berber camp after a caravan through the desert, Mohamed (the man in charge of the camels) prepared for us this delicious tagine. He was happy to teach me how to cook all in one pot, couscous inclusive, and how to pile up all the vegetables in a conical shape to allow the lid to fit perfectly and seal the simmering.
For convenience, some tagines are made out of metal. Less fragile and lighter, they are easier to transport. That´s why nomad tribes, like the Berbers, prefer them.
Typically, a meal starts with a selection of hot and cold salads served with bread;
then comes a tagine of meat, vegetables, spices and couscous;
sometimes a dish of lamb or chicken comes next;
and finishes with a simple dessert of seasonal fruits, such as orange slices topped with cinnamon powder, or just a plate with melon, watermelon or apple slices.
Tagines are a very aromatic combination of strongly spiced slow-cooked ingredients, such as: meats, traditionally lamb and chicken (the slow simmering allows the use of economical cuts of meat); onions, sweet potatoes, carrots, aubergines, potatoes, chickpeas, preserved lemons, boiled eggs, olives, dates, pistachios, raisins, almonds, plums; spices: key in Moroccan dishes (tagines are heavily spiced although not hot!), cumin, paprika, turmeric, saffron, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne pepper; and of course, couscous.
You can serve the tagine in the same pot to keep it warm, or transfer it into a plate.
CHICKEN AND CHICKPEAS TAGINE
-We cook the couscous separately, according to the pack instructions.
-We add the couscous into the tagine and let it cook with the flavoured juices for a more intense taste.
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