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cynthia at the daily basics

LOVE this Mark and Lynn! I actually was going to order a Tangine from Nigella Lawson's online shop, also available on Now I will! I have become a major fan of Middle Eastern food. The spices are so amazing. Now I want to go to Morocco! Thanks for a few minutes of fabulous fantasy.

Patricia Flournoy

CAN'T WAIT TO TRY IT... How can I duplicate a Tagine???

Mark Kane

The traditional ceramic tagine, with its shallow bottom and cone-shaped lid had two aims, to allow even distribution of very low heat (after the bottom heated up to the more or less the same temperature everywhere) and trapping the steam from the simmering sauce and returning it to the sauce as condensation, to prolong the simmering until the meat was succulent, almost dissolving. To approximate this with Western gear I've used for years a Le Creuset pot. It's cast iron and enamel with a slightly domed lid that, being heavy enough to stay put, allows very little steam to escape, thus prolonging the simmering about as well as a traditional ceramic tagine. When the tagine is ready, you have to remove it and arrange the solid bits on a warmed serving plate, then cover with the reduction.

By the way, the traditional ceramic tagine is not high-fired and not burner or oven-proof. It is meant only for low heat from a modest source, like a tiny brazier. These days there are iron and enamel vessels in the traditional shape and many variations of material, findable on the Internet. Try googling "tagine ceramic."

B'ism Allah.

Suzanne Hurst

My father was in Morocco during WW2, and always talked about the great food there, especially the bread. You have a photo of the bread, but do you know its name and where in the USA one might buy it?

Patricia Glee Smith

Wonderful photos (and recipe)! The first photo could be a 19th cent. orientalist painting. I have similar photos from my years in the Yemen, and lots of drawings.
Tom and Lisa will be back in Italy in November. When are you coming to visit???

Pat Smith (Otricoli)

Elizabeth Smith

It's possible to mimic a tagine with a Le Creuset cast iron casserole. They also sell tagines but the casserole works just fine. I cook it at 300 degrees in the oven for a few hours.


Hi Mark,
Thanks for your guest blog.
I loved your photographs.
They reminded me my childhood which was spent there in the 50ies/60ies.
It was such a wonderful country. Some places still are but others like Marrakech and the South have become far too touristy now and have lost their charm.
Of course tajine is something I grew up with and still cook quite often. There are endless recipes. All delicious. My husband particularly loves Chicken with tomatoes and honey.
If you ever come to Burgundy I'll be glad to share memories.

Mark Kane

Though bread looked the same all over Morocco--a round loaf an inch or two thick with a raised center--the texture and taste varied from household to household, largely because every family had its own tiny plot of land and its handed-down variety of wheat. I have a feeling that now instead of hundreds of wheat varieties Morocco has adopted the hybrid varieties that are bred for qualities besides subtle variations in taste--such as toughness, disease resistance and high yields. I still bread Moroccan style but it lacks the savor of the breads I remember in Fes. I combine one part whole wheat flour and three parts unbleached white flour, knead three times, let rise three times and bake in pre-warmed 350 degree oven with some steam in the air to keep the crust from hardening and halting the rising of the loaf. The bread becomes a kind of utensil when you eat a tagine, you tear off bits of bread and use them to gather a morsel of meat, veggies, dried fruit, then dab all in the reduction sauce. Done artfully, this style of collecting bites of dinner leaves your fingers and mouth free of grease. It might look unhygienic when seven people are dabbing in the same ceramic platter but the opposite is true. Fingers never touch mouth. Oh, I could go on but unless you're dining with royalty in Rabat you don't need to master the technique. By the way, the word for bread in morocco is Khubz but I don't think that will help you find a loaf in the U.S. unless you have a Moroccan restaurant nearby.

Mark Kane

NIcole, the universe of tagines in Morocco is vast, as you note. there are a few relatively modern cookbooks by Moroccans that hint at the variety. In the end a tagine is a forgiving dish and you can try all sort of combinations--root vegetables and lamb with dried fruits and honey, chicken with olives and preserved lemons and toasted almonds, on and on.Friends of Morocco, an organization of people who were Peace Corps volunteers in Morocco, has a lot of recipes here:

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