Suggestions 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 had been traditionally cooked. Although city Moroccans may be more inclined to make use of trendy cookware such as pressure cookers when making stews, tagines are still favored by those who respect the unique, sluggish-cooked flavor 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 used, you will need to season it so it is strengthened to withstand moderate cooking temperatures. As soon as the tagine is seasoned, it is simple to use. But there's more to know―cooking in a tagine is different from cooking in a conventional pot in a number of ways.
The tagine doubles as both a cooking vessel and a serving dish that keeps the meals warm. Dishes served in a tagine are traditionally eaten communally; diners gather around the tagine and eat by hand, using items of Moroccan bread to scoop up meat, vegetables, and sauce. Since you won't be stirring during the cooking, take care how you arrange or layer ingredients for a lovely table presentation.
Tagines are most often used on the stovehigh but will also be placed within the oven. When cooking with a tagine on the stovehigh, using an affordable 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, as the name says, diffuses the heat so the ceramic does not crack and break.
The tagine should also only be used over low or medium-low heat to keep away from damaging the tagine or scorching the meals; use only as much heat as mandatory to keep up a simmer. Tagines can also be used over small fires or in braziers over charcoal. It may be tricky to keep up an adequately low temperature. It is best to make use of a small quantity of charcoal or wood to establish a heat source and then periodically feed small handfuls of new fuel to keep the fire or embers burning. This way you will keep away from too high a heat.
Avoid subjecting the tagine to extreme temperature changes, which can cause the tagine to crack. Do not, for example, add very popular liquids to a cold tagine (and vice versa), and don't set a hot tagine on a really cold surface. When you 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 may call for browning the meat at the start, however this really isn't 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 standard pot cooking, where vegetables are added only after the meat has already grow to be tender.
Oil is essential to tagine cooking; do not be overly cautious in utilizing it otherwise you'll find yourself with watery sauce or probably scorched ingredients. In most recipes for 4 to 6 individuals, you may need between 1/four to 1/three cup of oil (sometimes part butter), which will mix with cooking liquids to make ample sauce for scooping up with bread. Choose olive oil for one of the best flavor and its health benefits. These with dietary or health considerations can merely keep away from 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. If you happen to've erred by adding an excessive amount of water, reduce the liquids on the end of cooking right into a thick sauce because a watery sauce just isn't desirable.
It will possibly take some time to reduce a big volume of liquid in a tagine. If the dish is otherwise executed, you'll be able to carefully pour the liquids into a small pan to reduce quickly, then return the thickened sauce back to the tagine.
When utilizing a tagine, patience is required; let the tagine attain a simmer slowly. Poultry takes about 2 hours to cook, while beef or lamb may take up to four hours. Try to not interrupt the cooking by incessantly lifting the lid to check on the meals; that's greatest left toward the tip of cooking if you add ingredients or check on the level of liquids.
Hot water and baking soda (or salt) are usually enough for cleaning your tagine. If vital, you should use a very gentle cleaning soap however rinse extra well since you don't need the unglazed clay to soak up a soapy taste. Pat dry and rub the inside surfaces of the tagine with olive oil earlier than storing it.
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