Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Americans are introduced to Moroccan food and culture by way of tagine cooking

Photo by Kerry Schofield
Chicken and apricots tagine

By Kerry Schofield

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Moroccans and Americans alike are cooking up a healthy offering of delicious food with the tagine — that heavy clay cooking pot with a domed lid.

A tagine is a standard dish found in the North African cuisine of Morocco. It is a saucy stew of slow-simmering meat, vegetables and spices. Many Americans have become familiar with tagine cooking from visiting local Moroccan restaurants.

Where did Moroccan food come from?

In 683, the Arabs invaded Morocco and brought with them caravans of spices and culinary secrets from Persia. The Moroccan cuisine has some great and unique dishes that were also influenced by Jewish Portuguese, French and British settlers — tea-drinking was picked up from British traders — and all merged to become Moroccan food.

Tagines of lamb, veal, goat and chicken are popular in Morocco. Moroccans cook with the same vegetables as Americans but Moroccan vegetables are mostly organic. Moroccans use a heavier spice mix of saffron, cumin, ginger and paprika. Turmeric is used for coloring.