The use of the Tagine cooking pot dates to the traveling nomads of North Africa. When the nomads settled to have their meal, they would place the tagine cooking pot over a fire with very low heat. They would then add different kinds of fruit, vegetables, and meats and cook slowly over time. The pot also has traces with Moroccan and Tunisian people as today they are widely used by both groups.
Old cooking pots were made with unglazed earthenware and from clay. Today’s pots can be made from glazed earthenware pots and cast iron materials with matte enamel surfaces. Electric pots are also available but these cannot be place inside an oven.
The pot was made to look appealing but also be functional in cooking. The conical lid on top has a knob which is used as a handle. The way the body is shaped is so the steam from the food cooking inside can be sent down to the base which to make sure the dish stays moist. There are pots that can be used for cooking and ones that are hand decorated beautifully just to serve food in, but not for cooking.
The dishes have unique names that were influenced by where the recipe came from and what is cooking inside the pot. Some typical dishes are kefta, mrouzia, and mqualli. Kefta contains meatballs in a tomato and egg sauce mix, mrouzia a lamb and almonds dish, and mquali which contains chicken and citrus fruits. Other notable dishes are makfoul, mossobucco, and tabil which are also made with a variety of spices, meats, vegetables and fruits. Seasonings are not lmited to just Moroccan spices but can also be Italian and French.
The word Tagine can also be spelled as Tajine. There is no significant difference between the two and both refer to the cooking pot.