A tagine is a two-piece set with a round and shallow base topped by an elegant cone, tapering at its tallest point with a knob that also serves as a handle to check on what’s inside. Traditionally, the dishes were made of clay, usually unglazed. There is a reason clay pots are great for cooking and are found in a variety of different cuisines around the world. As Paula Wolfart, author of The Food of Morocco notes, clay pots coddle food, bringing forth “bright, natural flavors and an unctuous tenderness.”
The shape of the pot is specific to its function. As the food cooks and gives of moisture, it raises with heat and up the tampered sides of the lid. As it reaches the top of the pot it cools and drops back down, keeping the food and meat tender.
Modern day tagine pots can be made as a decorative piece that the food is only served in and feature perforated patterns and high detail on the lid.