• An on-site taginerie dishes out slow-cooked tagines alongside zalouk, an eggplant and tomato salad. (Moroccan Deli-cacy)
Sometimes it's not only about what's inside the pot, but about the pot itself.
11 Oct 2018 - 11:40 AM  UPDATED 11 Oct 2018 - 12:08 PM


One of the original one-pot wonders, paella uses its wide shallow surface to encourage soccarat - the crispy rice crust at the bottom that infuses the entire pan with a depth of flavour. 

Blue swimmer crab paella

Paella with chorizo, peas and fennel

This is my interpretation of the iconic Spanish dish, paella. The oil from the chorizo imparts a delicious flavour.

The dos and don’ts for real-deal paella
A crispy rice crust is a must and stay clear of the chorizo, says Movida’s Frank Camorra, “it freaks the Spaniards out”.
Paella mixta

Paella is the ultimate dish to feed a crowd. This mixta version combines seafood with pork, chicken and chorizo, so the dish explodes with flavour.

Paella Valenciana

Paella is a one-pan wonder. Its trademark soccarat - that crunchy layer of rice at the base of the pan - infuses the saffron rice with a caramelised flavour.


"I love this dish because it’s so wonderfully social and perfect for feeding large numbers easily. I‘ll admit this is my version of it, which includes more vegetables and tomato than most, so I guess it’s been a little Australianised, but why not?!" Poh Ling Yeow, Poh & Co. 2



How can we talk about dishes named after their pot and not talk about tagine? This Moroccan clay dish is as recognisable on the dining table as in silhouette. Consisting basically of a deep plate underneath and a tall conical 'hat' on top, the tagine comes in a variety of sizes and is used to braise all manner of meats within. 

An on-site taginerie dishes out slow-cooked tagines alongside zalouk, an eggplant and tomato salad.

Tagines, caramel pancakes and hugs at Moroccan Deli-cacy
A cafe and deli sharing vegetarian treats and women's stories from the founder of the Speed Date a Muslim initiative.
Goat tagine with almonds

Serve this richly spiced goat tagine on a bed of fluffy couscous to soak up the fragrant, flavoursome sauce.

Lamb shoulder tagine

“Tagine is the dish of Morocco and everyone has their own spin on it, but for me, the two classic flavours are dates and lamb. One thing I did learn about tagines in Morocco is that presentation is king – every single vegetable is carefully placed into the dish in a systematic way so that when you serve it, everyone gets a bit of everything. Don’t worry if you don’t have a tagine – use a good quality heavy-based saucepan with a well-fitting lid instead.” Shane Delia, Shane Delia’s Moorish Spice Journey

Beyond the tagine
Moroccan food is incredibly diverse, thanks to the country’s interaction with other cultures and nations over the centuries, including Berber, Moorish, Arab and Mediterranean influences.
Chicken tagine (tajini bedjaj)

Chermoula, a traditional North African spice paste is a key player in this flavoursome Moroccan tagine, along with preserved lemons, which add a salty and acidic kick.


This Balkan dish with its domed metal lid makes it perfect for cooking over wood fires, creating a little steam-oven-like environment to keep stews juicy whilst they're cooking. This multi-faceted cooking vessel doesn't just do stews either - the steamy environment is also perfect for baking bread and pastries. 

Sač is a popular Balkan stew that gets its name from the clay or cast iron pot with a bell-shaped lid that it's cooked in.


Somewhere in-between a North African tagine and Spain’s lovechild paella (minus the rice), cataplana also gets its name from the cookware it is prepared in. Two clam-shaped shells are hinged together during cooking to allow its contents to be steam-cooked in its own juices and flavours - similar to that of a pressure cooker. Traditionally made out of beaten copper, it was dome-shaped to allow fishermen to fill them with vegetables and spices and take them along on their fishing trips to cook their fresh seafood in over a fire. 


Meet cataplana: Paella and tagine's Portuguese cousin
Somewhere between a paella and a tagine is Portugal's seafood sensation that is creating its own spectacle.
Supreme cataplana

Just like paella, cataplana actually refers to the pot this dish is cooked in! If you don't have ready access to one, substitute by using a wide pot or sauté pan. 


Nabe can refer to a wide range of cooking pots, and this loose term has even spawned an entire cuisine category for the Japanese: nabemono - which translates to things in a pot. This Japanese one-pot wonder usually includes a wide variety of vegetables, protein and a bundle or two of noodles, all cooked lovingly in a light soup. 

Sumo stew (chanko nabe)

Chanko nabe is a kind of stew that’s known as the original sumo food. Despite the reputation that sumos have for their huge statures, the recipe for chanko nabe is actually relatively healthy, low in fat and loaded with vegetables. This version uses only chicken – based on the old joke that eating an animal that walks only on two legs will help a sumo stay on his feet – but in reality there’s no fixed recipe for chanko nabe, and versions can contain beef, salmon, pork or anything else you like. In fact, the only qualification for something to be chanko nabe seems to be that it is made by, or for, a sumo.

Nyuto Onsen Yamato potato stew (potato miso nabe)

In the Japanese Shōwa period, the locals of the Nyuto Onsen hot spring region of Akita prefecture sought to develop a dish that encapsulated the local culture and highlighted the local ingredients, and in particular the distinctive local Yamato potato – a type of mountain yam specific to the region. This simple stew was developed through a collaboration between local chefs and was officially decreed as a local specialty. This version, made at the Tsurunoyu hot spring, uses miso for a hearty and flavourful broth. As the Yamato potato is very hard to find outside Nyuto Onsen, you may substitute sweet potato dumplings in its place (see recipe below).

Tori tsukune nabe

These delicious Japanese chicken dumplings are poached a dashi and soy-based broth that’s typical of the nabe (steamboat) style of cooking. Add cabbage, shiitake mushrooms and julienned carrots for a simple, yet nourishing meal.

Oyster and mushroom hot pot (kaki nabe)

Easy to make but full of flavour. 

Tofu hotpot (tofu nabe)

This Japanese recipe for tofu hotpot is a great light and healthy dish for the cold weather. "Nabe" refers to the Japanese clay pot used for cooking this recipe. Often the pot will be placed in the middle of the table and shared.


Descended from the Dutch oven, Potjie refers to a round-based cast iron pot. This is then usually placed over open fire, where stews simmer covered all day.  Here's a goat stew potjie with mushroom, we've prepared earlier.

Call it a casserole, potjie or hot-pot: Here are 9 awesome stews
Inspired by the pots of potjie on The Chefs’ Line this week, we delve into nine of the world’s most delicious, soul-warming stews.
Goat stew potjie with mushrooms

Potjie is a South African name for a type of stew cooked in a cast-iron three-legged pot. In Zimbabwe, which is where I am from, we use the same type of cast-iron pot, which we call ‘bhodho’, and we just call the stew a stew - and in this instance goat stew would be ‘nyama yembudzi’. This goat stew is common in Zimbabwe, though each family has its own recipe.

Have we got your attention and your tastebuds? The Chefs’ Line airs every weeknight at 6pm on SBS followed by an encore screening at 9.30pm on SBS Food Network. Episodes will be available after broadcast via SBS On Demand. Join the conversation #TheChefsLine on Instagram @sbsfood, Facebook @SBSFood and Twitter @SBS_Food. Check out sbs.com.au/thechefsline for episode guides, cuisine lowdowns, recipes and more!

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