BERBER VEGETARIAN TAGINE

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This is another Moroccan favorite tagine recipe. You’ll be surprised how Vegetables will taste so different, appetizing, fresh and tasty when cooked in a Moroccan Tagine.

For this slow-cooked flavored tagine you need:DSC_0196

  •  3 carrots peeled, sliced
  • 3 potatoes peeled, sliced
  •  2 medium onions peeled, sliced into rings
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ cup of green peas
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup red Beldi olives (or green olives)
  • ½ Preserved lemon
  • 1 cup water

Seasoning

  • ½  teaspoons salt
  • ½  teaspoon black pepper
  • ½  teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼  of saffron threads
  • ½  teaspoon ginger

Preparation

Pour half of the oil into the bottom of the tagine without preheating, add in layers:  onions, carrots, potatoes, then arrange tomatoes on top, sprinkle green peas and chopped cilantro as a garnish. Decorate with olives and preserved lemon slices.

Mix all the spices in a bowl with some water , pour over the vegetables, add the water from one side of tagine (not from the top to not wash the spices out), cover and let cook over low-medium heat for about 30 to 35 min or until vegetables are tender.

It’s important to baste the vegetables from time to time to prevent it from drying and to keep the flavor throughout.

Drizzle the Tagine with the rest of the oil prior serving, and enjoy hot with some bread, the traditional way.

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CURING & SEASONING A TAGINE!

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We receive quite a few questions about tagine curing and cooking. Not only the “how” questions but the “why” as well. Below, I am including a step by step directions on how to cure a tagine at home without any special equipment and just little space.

HOW TO CURE A TAGINE?
It is necessary that it is seasoned before initial use. Please follow these simple instructions below for maximum results:

1. WATER: The new tagine needs to be first submerged in water for at least 1 hour. If you can’t submerge it, place it in a clean sink bowl and slowly fill the base of the tagine with water until it stops absorbing it. Place the tagine lid on top (as shown) and fill it as well. Let stand for 30 minutes to allow full absorption of water into the clay. Empty excess water and set to dry for 5 minutes.

Step 1. Soaking in Water

2. OLIVE OIL: All you need is 3 table spoons of olive oil, 2 for the base and one for the lid. Spread the olive oil throughout the base and lid with your hand as shown. 

How to cure a Moroccan tagine

3: HEAT: While the tagine is still wet with the oil applied to it, place it in the oven as shown in the first or second photos, and set temperature at 350 F and leave for 45 minutes. The evaporation of moisture creates a vaccum effect to pull the olive oil into the clay which glazes and seals it. Then leave the tagine cool down in the turned off oven.
The last photo shows a cured tagine ready for use. 

Step 3. Heat Curing in the Oven

WHY CURE A TAGINE?
Curing clay pots is as cultural as the cooking itself. If you look up curing clay pots, you will find a variety of processes using a multitude of ingredients ranging from spinach to buttermilk to mustard oil. In order to strengthen (less susceptible to thermal shock) your cooking tagine and get optimum taste that tagine lovers seek at every use, it is necessary to use the process explained above. The use of olive oil has a dual effect. It is as important for sealing clay as it is for flavoring Moroccan cooking. 

TAGINE CLEANING
It is recommended that you hand wash your tagine, as it has not been tested for dishwashers. Do not leave submerged in soapy water. 

 
 

MOROCCAN HOT MINT TEA “ATAY”

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Moroccan mint tea is served before and after meals. It is both sweet and refreshing. In traditional Moroccan culture, it is usually prepared by the elder men of the family. There is no one way to make mint tea as it is very subjective. The best tea maker of the family is guaranteed to always be invited and honored.  The following recipe is based on my late grandfather’s way of preparing tea.

INGREDIENTS
– 4 to 5 cups of water
– 1 x large bunch of fresh Spearmint (peppermint will not do)
– 1 tbsp of green tea (Gun Powder Tea is preferred and you can find it in oriental/chinese stores)
– 4 to 5 table spoons of sugar

PREPARATION
Set the water to a full boil. Place the green tea in the teapot. Add 1/4 cup of boiling water, let it sit for 1/2 minute and then pour it out. This allows the tea leaves to open completely.

Add all of the rinsed mint inside the teapot, then add 4-5 tbsp of sugar (to taste). Top with  boiling hot water and let it boil for 2 minutes. Take off stove top and let it sit for another minute.

Pour 1 full glass of hot mint tea and pour it back into the teapot. Repeat this twice. This allows for the sugar to mix without breaking any mint leaves (breaking of mint leaves while mixing with a spoon makes tea a bit bitter).

You are now ready to serve Moroccan hot mint tea, preferably with cookies. Hold the teapot a little high from the glass so that the tea foams as it is poured into the tea glasses. This is called the “Tea Turbin”. It is only tradition and it is believed that the larger the turbin the better the tea.

It is optional to add two drops of orange blossom water as it is added only during ceremonial gatherings.

Enjoy!
 
Although it is not necessary, if seeking the full authentic experience, you can find find Moroccan tea pots and beautiful colorful Moroccan tea glasses at Berber Trading Company.