Tajine is a type of bowl with a cone like lid and a vent for steam. The meals made in this type of dish also share the name of tajine.
This is a traditional Moroccan and Middle Eastern way to cook, by slowly heating the ingredients on a small fire. Due to the conical shape the flavor filled steam condenses on the lid and drips back into the dish saturating it with spices. As a result the food becomes incredibly tender and flavorful.
Today tajines have become extremely popular all over the world, and I can see why! First of all, cooking such a meal is a breeze: all you have to do is load up all the ingredients and let them cook themselves, with only the occasional check under the lid. Secondly, once you have mastered the tajine, it is incredibly easy to pick out new ingredients and experiment with your own wonderful flavors. Third of all, slow cooked foods are considered good for your health. Also, as the food is served in the same dish it was cooked in, it helps to set up a table in no time. Finally, it is fun and cooking in tajine exposes you to a new culture of food.
Nowadays tajine dishes are made from different materials: clay, ceramics, enamel cast iron, and stainless steel. Sometimes before placing ingredients in the tajine they are slightly browned. However, in the traditional version of the tajine the ingredients are simply placed in the bowl. When making this cuisine, a very flavorful seasoning ras el hanout is used. This extremely aromatic mixture could be comprised of up to 50 different spices. Although, ras el hanout compositions can vary significantly, and it almost always contains the same key ingredients: cumin, turmeric, paprika, ginger, black pepper, coriander, all spice, and cinnamon.
When cooking a tajine you will be able to appreciate all of the amazing spices that go into the dish…as will your tongue!
- 2 – 3 chicken breasts or 6 chicken thighs, boneless
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 sweet bell pepper, chopped
- 1-2 cups frozen green peas
- ½ – 1 cup raisins
- 4 – 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp sweet or hot paprika
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger or ½ tsp ground dry ginger
- Dash of grated nutmeg
- Black pepper
- Fresh cilantro or parsley
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil (or other vegetable oil) for cooking
- 1 ½ – 2 cups of water
Preheat the oven to 360 F (180 C).
Cut the chicken into bite size pieces.
You can slightly brown the chicken pieces and the onion in the tajine bowl or in a pan using some oil.
Arrange the ingredients in the tajine or oven proof deep dish: the onion – on a bottom, the chicken – on the top of the onion, then other vegetables and raisins; add spices and seasoning. Cover with water. Put the lid on the tajine (or cover the dish with a foil) and place in the oven. Cook the tajine for 1 – 1 ½ hours. Check for liquid: if the water evaporates, add some more.
When the tajine is done, gently mix chicken with vegetables. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve with basmati rice or couscous on a side.
Cook with pleasure and enjoy the world!