Tips 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 urban Moroccans could also be more inclined to make use of trendy cookware comparable to pressure cookers when making stews, tagines are nonetheless favored by those that respect the unique, slow-cooked flavor that the clayware imparts to the food. In addition, tagines stay the cookware of alternative 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. However there's more to know―cooking in a tagine is completely 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 food warm. Dishes served in a tagine are traditionally eaten communally; diners gather across the tagine and eat by hand, using items of Moroccan bread to scoop up meat, vegetables, and sauce. Because you won't be stirring during the cooking, take care the way you arrange or layer ingredients for a wonderful table presentation.
Tagines are most often used on the stovetop but can be placed in the oven. When cooking with a tagine on the stovetop, using an affordable diffuser between the tagine and the heat source 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 doesn't 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 needed to keep up a simmer. Tagines may additionally be used over small fires or in braziers over charcoal. It can be tricky to maintain an adequately low temperature. It's 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 may keep away from too high a heat.
Keep away from subjecting the tagine to extreme temperature changes, which can cause the tagine to crack. Don't, for instance, add extremely popular liquids to a cold tagine (and vice versa), and do not set a scorching tagine on a very cold surface. Should 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 might call for browning the meat in the beginning, however this really isn't obligatory when cooking in a tagine. You'll discover that tagine recipes call for adding the vegetables and meats to the vessel at the very beginning. This is different from standard pot cooking, the place vegetables are added only after the meat has already become tender.
Oil is essential to tagine cooking; don't be overly cautious in using it or you'll end up with watery sauce or possibly scorched ingredients. In most recipes for four to six people, you'll need between 1/four to 1/three cup of oil (generally part butter), which will mix with cooking liquids to make ample sauce for scooping up with bread. Select olive oil for the best flavor and its health benefits. These with dietary or health issues can simply keep away from the sauce when eating.
Much less water is required when cooking in a tagine because the cone-shaped high 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 shouldn't be desirable.
It will probably take some time to reduce a big volume of liquid in a tagine. If the dish is in any other case accomplished, you possibly can careabsolutely pour the liquids right into a small pan to reduce quickly, then return the thickened sauce back to the tagine.
When utilizing a tagine, endurance 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 4 hours. Attempt not to interrupt the cooking by regularly lifting the lid to check on the meals; that is greatest left toward the end of cooking whenever 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 needed, you need to use a very delicate soap however rinse additional well since you don't want the unglazed clay to soak up a soapy taste. Pat dry and rub the interior surfaces of the tagine with olive oil before storing it.
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