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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 have been traditionally cooked. Though city Moroccans may be more inclined to use modern cookware comparable to pressure cookers when making stews, tagines are nonetheless favored by those who admire the unique, slow-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 utilized, you could season it so it is strengthened to withstand moderate cooking temperatures. Once the tagine is seasoned, it is simple to use. However there's more to know―cooking in a tagine is 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 food warm. Dishes served in a tagine are traditionally eaten communally; diners collect across the tagine and eat by hand, using pieces 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 an exquisite table presentation.
Tagines are most frequently used on the stoveprime but can also be positioned in the oven. When cooking with a tagine on the stoveprime, the use of an inexpensive 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 doesn't crack and break.
The tagine also needs to only be used over low or medium-low heat to avoid damaging the tagine or scorching the meals; use only as much heat as crucial to take care of a simmer. Tagines may additionally be used over small fires or in braziers over charcoal. It may be tricky to maintain an adequately low temperature. It is best to make use of a small quantity of charcoal or wood to ascertain a heat source 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.
Keep away from subjecting the tagine to excessive temperature changes, which can cause the tagine to crack. Do not, for example, add highly regarded liquids to a cold tagine (and vice versa), and don't set a scorching tagine on a very cold surface. If 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 could call for browning the meat in the beginning, but 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 at the very beginning. This is different from typical pot cooking, the place vegetables are added only after the meat has already change into tender.
Oil is essential to tagine cooking; don't be overly cautious in utilizing it otherwise you'll end up with watery sauce or presumably scorched ingredients. In most recipes for four to six people, you'll 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 the very best taste and its health benefits. Those with dietary or health issues can simply avoid the sauce when eating.
Much less water is required when cooking in a tagine because the cone-formed prime condenses steam and returns it to the dish. If you've erred by adding an excessive amount of water, reduce the liquids at the end of cooking right into a thick sauce because a watery sauce shouldn't be desirable.
It will possibly take a while to reduce a large quantity of liquid in a tagine. If the dish is in any other case completed, you can careabsolutely pour the liquids right into a small pan to reduce quickly, then return the thickened sauce back to the tagine.
When using 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. Strive to not interrupt the cooking by regularly lifting the lid to check on the meals; that is best left toward the end of cooking when 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 necessary, you can use a really mild soap however rinse further well since you don't need the unglazed clay to absorb a soapy taste. Pat dry and rub the inside surfaces of the tagine with olive oil earlier than storing it.
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