Food, Recipes

Tajine – A World Famous Maroccan Specialty.


Tajine is the name for a vast number of Moroccan stews, produced in a specially designed earthenware two-piece cooking vessel. The name is derived from the Greek word teganon (frying pan) and researchers believe it dates back to the times of Greek rule in North Africa.

Every city in this vast country has its own version of tajine which may be specially designed for fish, chicken, lamb or other meats, and a wide variety of vegetables, stewed with fruits, olives, lemon slices, herbs and spices, all simmered to yield tasty sauces and extraordinary tender meats.

Cooked in tajine earthenware, each version, in the hands of an experienced cook, reaches the epitome of flavour. The mouth-watering taste of stewing tajines is a result of the conical lid capturing the steam and juices from the simmering, covered, for hours over very low heat.

Tajines can be prepared ahead, and quickly, reheated for use in commercial kitchens, but to truly enjoy the unique taste of this ingenious cooking technique, prepare and serve it immediately.

Vegetarian tajines are extra delicious. Here are two recipes you may want to try:

Lemon and olive chicken

Yield: 4 portions
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, minced
4 cloves garlic, pureed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp each pepper, paprika, ground ginger
½ tsp turmeric
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 – 4 cups water
½ green olives, pitted, halved
1 lemon, thinly sliced, seeded

Heat 3 tbsp oil is saucepan over medium heat. Sauté chicken until light brown, turning several times. Remove and keep hot.

Add remaining oil to pan and sauté onions over medium heat for 6 – 8 minutes and stir in garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, ginger, turmeric, lemon juice and the water. Add chicken and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 – 1 ½ hours or until chicken is well done. Add water if necessary. Add olives and simmer for five minutes.

Transfer to plates garnish with lemon slices and serve.

Fish tajine

Yield: four portions
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 kg salmon steaks or any firm fleshed fatty fish
2 onions, minced
4 cloves garlic, pureed
½ fresh coriander, finely chopped
1 small chili pepper, minced
2 cups stewed tomatoes
1-cup water
1 tsp each salt, ground ginger
½ tsp each ground pepper and cumin
1 lemon quartered lengthwise and sliced into triangles
1/3-cup green olives pitted

Heat oil in heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat and cook fish for approximately eight minutes or less pending on fish. Stir in tomatoes, salt, ginger, pepper and cumin.

Cover and bake for 50 minutes or until done. Spread lemons and olives evenly over fish and bake for ten more minutes.


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