Tajine: how to buy a perfect Moroccan tajine

Tajines, traditional North African cookware, are renowned for their unique design and ability to create delicious, slow-cooked meals.

How to buy a good tajine

When it comes to elevating your culinary experience and adding a touch of Moroccan flavor to your dishes, investing in a high-quality tajine is a must. Tajines, traditional North African cookware, are renowned for their unique design and ability to create delicious, slow-cooked meals.

Tajine types

Choose between a clay and a metal tajine

There are the two main types of tajines: ceramic and cast iron. Both kinds are ideal for slow cooking. The clay tajines often have a decorative element, while cast iron tajines offer durability and better heat retention. Consider your cooking preferences and choose the type that aligns with your needs.

Size Matters

Tajines come in various sizes, ranging from small individual servings to large family-sized options. Consider the number of people you typically cook for and the types of dishes you intend to prepare. A smaller tajine is perfect for intimate dinners, while a larger one is suitable for gatherings.

Quality Materials – ease of use and maintenance

Pay close attention to the materials used in the construction of the tajine. High-quality ceramics and cast iron are essential for even heat distribution and durability. Check for any glazes or coatings to ensure they are food-safe and won’t affect the taste of your dishes. Consider the practical aspects of using and maintaining your tajine. Ensure that it is safe for stovetop use.

Clay tajines: getting them ready for use

Clay tajines – amazingly beautiful, often painted in traditional designs – are great souvenirs that will make you remember colours of Morocco back at home. Yet, ensuring the longevity of your clay tajine requires careful preparation to prevent breakage during the initial high-temperature cooking process.

Saharan nomads offer a straightforward solution: immerse the tajine in cold water overnight. Prior to your inaugural cooking adventure, sauté 5-6 sliced onions in olive oil for about an hour, stirring from time to time. This simple ritual not only imparts a delightful flavor to your tajine but also strengthens its cover layer, ensuring it remains a cherished kitchen companion for an extended period.

Unbreakable cast iron tajine

Alternatively, if you’re seeking a robust dish that prioritises durability over artistic appeal, opt for a metal tajine. These versatile options are ideal for travel, resilient against breakage, making them the perfect companion for any excursions. Whether used at home kitchen, or on a camp fire during vacation, a metal tajine ensures reliability on the go. Just ensure it comes equipped with a wooden handle on top instead of a plastic one.

How much does a tajine cost

Prices vary, depending on quality. Negotiations are part of each transaction in Morocco, so whatever price you get initially, be ready to bargain to at least half of it. It’s always good to have a local who will go with you, chose a good shop and help assess if the price is appropriate to quality. In M’hamid, prices of simple tajines starts at 50 dirham (around €5).