This is where I have just bought my first tagine, at Lantaka, a specialty shop in Cairns, Far North Queensland, stocking an exotic variety of useful and decorative Moroccan tagines, rugs, homewares, and leather goods, sourced personally by the owners in Morocco and imported directly to the shop. It is an Aladdin's Cave full of surprises for those that venture off the footpaths of Stratford Parade through it's front doors, being lured in by the impressive and colourful window displays.
A tagine is a Moroccan cooking pot mainly used to slow-cook savoury stews, meats and vegetable dishes. Traditionally they are made entirely from heavy clay, which may be painted or glazed. Tagine dishes are cooked slowly at low temperatures, resulting in tender fall-off-the-bone meats and aromatic vegetables and sauces.
My spice journey began when we visited Istanbul in Turkey a few years ago, and recently I started cooking more Middle Eastern and Moroccan dishes, a favourite being Baked Yoghurt Rice with Chicken (Tahcheen-e-morgh). However, now that I have my first earthenware tagine, I am eager to use it and experience the tastes of slow-cooked Moroccan spicy dishes, tagine style, prepared in my own kitchen. However, at Lantaka the owner stressed that it must be seasoned before use to prevent cracking and deterioration.
To season your tagine, soak it in water for 24 hours, allow it to air dry, wipe it with a thin layer of olive oil when it is dry, and then put it in the oven on a low heat for 1 hour. It requires only hot water and a scourer to clean after soaking.
Your tagine must then be used within 2 months, or the whole curing process needs to be repeated. For cooking, cook over a low flame on a gas stove or in the electric or gas oven on a low to medium heat. 150 deg. C. is suitable.
To clean after cooking, you will need to hand wash with a mild detergent, very simple. It is not dishwasher proof.
My first experience of cooking a Lamb tagine in my new pot has been successful. I would love to hear from anyone who has had an interesting experience or an amazing meal using their own tagine.