Ideas for Cooking in a Moroccan Tagine
Many Moroccan dishes take their name from a tagine, which is the clay or ceramic vessel in which they were traditionally cooked. Although city Moroccans may be more inclined to use fashionable cookware similar to pressure cookers when making stews, tagines are nonetheless favored by those that recognize the unique, slow-cooked taste that the clayware imparts to the food. In addition, tagines remain the cookware of choice in lots of rural areas as a matter of cultural norms.
Earlier than a new tagine can be utilized, it's essential to season it so it is strengthened to withstand moderate cooking temperatures. As soon as the tagine is seasoned, it is straightforward to use. But there's more to know―cooking in a tagine is completely different from cooking in a standard pot in a number of ways.
The tagine doubles as each a cooking vessel and a serving dish that keeps the meals warm. Dishes served in a tagine are traditionally eaten communally; diners collect across the tagine and eat by hand, using items of Moroccan bread to scoop up meat, vegetables, and sauce. Since you won't be stirring through the cooking, take care the way you arrange or layer ingredients for a ravishing table presentation.
Tagines are most often used on the stovetop but can also be positioned within the oven. When cooking with a tagine on the stoveprime, the use of a reasonable diffuser between the tagine and the heat supply is essential. A diffuser is a flat metal paddle that sits between the burner and the tagine and, because the name says, diffuses the heat so the ceramic would not crack and break.
The tagine should also only be used over low or medium-low heat to avoid damaging the tagine or scorching the meals; use only as much heat as mandatory to take care of a simmer. Tagines might also be used over small fires or in braziers over charcoal. It can be tricky to maintain an adequately low temperature. It's best to use a small quantity of charcoal or wood to establish a heat supply after which periodically feed small handfuls of new fuel to keep the fire or embers burning. This way you may avoid too high a heat.
Avoid subjecting the tagine to excessive temperature changes, which can cause the tagine to crack. Do not, for instance, add very hot liquids to a cold tagine (and vice versa), and don't set a hot tagine on a very cold surface. If you happen to use a clay or ceramic tagine in an oven, place the cold tagine in a cold oven on a rack, then set the temperature to no more than 325 to 350 F.
Some recipes might call for browning the meat firstly, but this really is not essential when cooking in a tagine. You will notice that tagine recipes call for adding the vegetables and meats to the vessel on the very beginning. This is totally different from conventional pot cooking, where vegetables are added only after the meat has already become tender.
Oil is essential to tagine cooking; do not be overly cautious in using it otherwise you'll find yourself with watery sauce or probably scorched ingredients. In most recipes for four to six people, you will need between 1/four to 1/three cup of oil (sometimes part butter), which will combine with cooking liquids to make ample sauce for scooping up with bread. Select olive oil for one of the best taste and its health benefits. These with dietary or health considerations can simply avoid the sauce when eating.
Much less water is required when cooking in a tagine because the cone-shaped top condenses steam and returns it to the dish. Should you've erred by adding too much water, reduce the liquids at the end of cooking into a thick sauce because a watery sauce isn't desirable.
It could actually take some time to reduce a big volume of liquid in a tagine. If the dish is in any other case completed, you can carefully pour the liquids into a small pan to reduce quickly, then return the thickened sauce back to the tagine.
When utilizing a tagine, persistence is required; let the tagine attain a simmer slowly. Poultry takes about 2 hours to cook, while beef or lamb may take as much as four hours. Attempt to not interrupt the cooking by often lifting the lid to check on the meals; that's greatest left toward the tip of cooking once you add ingredients or check on the level of liquids.
Hot water and baking soda (or salt) are usually ample for cleaning your tagine. If necessary, you should utilize a very delicate cleaning soap however rinse extra well since you do not need the unglazed clay to absorb a soapy taste. Pat dry and rub the interior surfaces of the tagine with olive oil earlier than storing it.
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