What is a tagine pot?
Used extensively in North African cooking, a tagine pot, or tajine pot as it is otherwise known, is a circular earthenware pot which may be glazed or un-glazed and contains a large conical shaped lid. The base is round with shallow sides and the conical lid fits snuggly into the base.The purpose of the lid is to draw moisture down to the base of the tagine pot, thus ensuring that the meat, fish, cous-cous, or whichever food is being cooked, remains moist and tender.
Where to Buy a Tagine Pot online ~ What is a Tagine Pot?
Exploring the benefits of cooking with a tagine pot and which features to look for when buying a tagine pot online.
What is a tagine pot?
Hand Painted Tagines
A tagine can be used to cook a number of foods, however, because of the slow cooking method and the moisture which is retained whilst cooking; it is often used to cook cheaper cuts of meat. Nevertheless, practically any food can be cooked in this vessel, including seafood.
A traditional tagine is made from heavy clay, more recently however, some manufacturers are now producing tagines which have a stainless steel or ceramic base, ensuring that the vessel can withstand very high temperatures. Most tagines need to be seasoned prior to first use and periodically thereafter, which ensures that the cookware has a longer life and also that the food tastes even better. Although many tagine users confess to always seasoning their pots in the same way, it is better to refer to the manufacturer's recommendations when it comes to seasoning your new pot.
What are the Benefits of Cooking with a Tagine?
The tagine pot has been used for centuries in Morocco, Tunisia and other regions in North Africa. Chicken, lamb, fish, couscous, seafood and a range of vegetables and fruits are often prepared using this method of cooking. The advantages of cooking food this way are numerous:
- The conically shaped lid allows the steam from the food to rise and then fall back into the base. In effect, this means that the food is self-basting which means you do not have to keep distributing the liquid over the food which is being cooked. This cookware is perfect for the lazy cook, or one who prefers to just throw the ingredients into the pot and leave until ready.
- Because the food is self-basting it tends to cook more evenly, and the additional moisture, the steam, which is re-distributed over the food ensures that even cheaper cuts of meat do not dry out.
- Because the dishes are slow cooked at lower temperatures and the moisture from the food is circulated around the vessel, fewer nutrients are lost compared to cooking food in a traditional casserole, or alternative one pot cookware. In addition, vegetables which are cooked this way retain their shape and flavour.
- When the tagine is removed from the oven or stove top, it can be taken straight to the table for diners to serve themselves, which means that the food remains piping hot.
I Want to Buy a Tagine Online; What Features Should I Look For Before Buying?
Tagines are produced using a number of different materials, including silicone, which means that each type of tagine will offer different features. Therefore, it is really important to carefully consider how you will want to use the cookware before actually making the purchase. For example, if you plan to use your new tagine on both the stove top and in the oven, you will need to ensure that the tagine has been produced using material which is oven AND flame resistant.
Can the product be used to brown food, including meat?
The majority of traditional clay tagines cannot withstand very high temperatures; consequently, food often has to browned in a skillet prior to transferring to the vessel. Nevertheless, a tagine with a stainless base, or other suitable clay, can be used on the stove top at any temperature, ensuring that the cookware is suitable for browning food.
Is the product suitable for stove top AND oven use?
Most simple clay products are more suitable for oven use, but many can be used on the stove top with the aid of a diffuser. Silicone vessels on the other hand, might be inexpensive, but they can only be used in the oven. Ceramic tagines, stainless steel tagines and vessels which are produced using a combination of these materials, can be used safely on the stove top and in the oven.
Is the tagine suitable for the dishwasher, microwave and refrigerator/freezer?
Some traditional clay tagines are not dishwasher safe and are particularly sensitive to extreme changes in temperature. Refer to the manufacturers guidelines for further information.
How much food and liquid can the product hold?
Tagines are available in a range of different sizes. The smaller vessels hold enough to serve one to two people, whilst the larger tagines can serve up to eight.
Okra Silicone Tagine Pot.
Naturally, each buyer will have different expectations from their new tagine. If, however, you have not used this type of product before and want to experiment with the cookware before deciding whether to invest in a more expensive product, then the Okra silicone tagine is a great place to start.
Okra's product is made entirely from silicone, can be used in a conventional oven and microwave oven. Dishes can be prepared in the microwave or the base can be used to defrost the food prior to cooking, the Okra is also dishwasher safe. Incorporated within the design are sturdy handles which means it's much easier to transfer from the oven to the table when hot. The tagine is available in different sizes and colours.
Visitors from the United Kingdom can find a range of similar tagine pots at Amazon.co.uk.
Suitable for oven use: Yes.
Microwave and dishwasher safe: Yes.
Suitable for stove top use: No
Capacity: 27 oz which will provide two to three servings.
Available in a range of colours: Yes.
Le Souk Ceramique Cookable Tagine.
Le Souk manufacture the most beautiful, traditional tagines and their pieces are hand painted using food-safe glazes and paints. The Sabrine cookable tagine is manufactured using one piece of hand thrown cookable clay, known as refractory, which means it can be safely used on the stove top without cracking.
Although the vessel is suitable for stove top use, the use of a diffuser is strongly recommended because the vessel cannot withstand very high temperatures. Nevertheless, you need to take care when purchasing a Le Souk tagine, as some of their products are suitable for serving ONLY. Ensure that the tagine is labelled as the cookable product before ordering.
Suitable for oven use: No
Suitable for stove top use: Yes, but only at low temperatures.
To be used with a diffuser: Strongly recommended.
Dishwasher safe: No
Available in a range of different designs and sizes: Yes.
Microwave safe: Yes.
Chef Casablanca Tagine.
The Chef Casablanca is excellent value for money, the vessel is handmade in Morocco, very ornate and beautifully decorated, and is also a fair trade product.
The tagine is suitable for use on the stove top, up to medium high temperatures, and for use in the oven up to temperatures of 350 F. A range of sizes are also available. The chef Casablanca is dishwasher and microwave safe.
Suitable for oven use: Yes.
Suitable for stove top use: Yes.
Used with a diffuser: Recommended.
Microwave and dishwasher safe: Yes.
Available in different sizes and colours: The Casablanca Chef is available in a range of different sizes but not colours or designs.
Emile Henry Flame Top Tagine.
From my point of view, and after using and owning several different tagines over the years, the Emile Henry product is the Rolls Royce of Tagines. Beautifully designed, this product combines the latest in technology to bring you a vessel which is almost indestructible.
The product can be used safely without a diffuser, on a flame top or electric stove, it can withstand a high temperature which also means that it can be used to brown meats and other foods. Suitable for use in the oven and microwave, you can put it straight into the freezer/ refrigerator. This cooking vessel can withstand extreme changes in temperature without cracking. Furthermore, if you forget to remove the vessel from the oven or stove top once you have served the food within it, it will not crack.
The Emile Henry Flame top is also dishwasher safe, is available in a range of colours and sizes, and will cook any dish to absolute perfection.
Suitable for use on the stove top: Yes.
Suitable for use in the oven: Yes.
To be used with a diffuser: No.
Microwave, dishwasher, freezer safe: Yes.
Available in a range of colours and sizes: Yes.