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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 have been traditionally cooked. Though city Moroccans may be more inclined to make use of fashionable cookware comparable to pressure cookers when making stews, tagines are nonetheless favored by those that recognize the unique, sluggish-cooked taste that the clayware imparts to the food. In addition, tagines remain the cookware of selection in many rural areas as a matter of cultural norms.
Earlier than a new tagine can be used, you could season it so it is strengthened to withstand moderate cooking temperatures. Once the tagine is seasoned, it is straightforward 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 each 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. Since you won't be stirring throughout the cooking, take care how you arrange or layer ingredients for a stupendous table presentation.
Tagines are most frequently used on the stoveprime but may also be positioned within the oven. When cooking with a tagine on the stovehigh, using 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, 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 obligatory to take care of a simmer. Tagines may additionally be used over small fires or in braziers over charcoal. It may be tricky to take care of an adequately low temperature. It's best to make use of 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 will keep away from too high a heat.
Avoid subjecting the tagine to excessive temperature adjustments, which can cause the tagine to crack. Do not, for instance, add very popular liquids to a cold tagine (and vice versa), and don't set a hot tagine on a really cold surface. In case 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 at the start, but this really is not vital when cooking in a tagine. You will discover that tagine recipes call for adding the vegetables and meats to the vessel on the very beginning. This is different from conventional pot cooking, the place vegetables are added only after the meat has already change into tender.
Oil is essential to tagine cooking; do not be overly cautious in using it otherwise you'll end up with watery sauce or possibly scorched ingredients. In most recipes for 4 to 6 individuals, you'll want 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. Choose olive oil for one of the best taste and its health benefits. Those with dietary or health considerations can merely keep away from the sauce when eating.
Less water is required when cooking in a tagine because the cone-shaped prime 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 will not be desirable.
It may take a while to reduce a large quantity of liquid in a tagine. If the dish is in any other case completed, you possibly can carefully pour the liquids right 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 could take as much as four hours. Attempt to not interrupt the cooking by continuously lifting the lid to check on the food; that's greatest left toward the tip of cooking whenever you add ingredients or check on the level of liquids.
Hot water and baking soda (or salt) are usually adequate for cleaning your tagine. If necessary, you should utilize a really mild soap but rinse extra well since you do not need the unglazed clay to absorb a soapy taste. Pat dry and rub the inner surfaces of the tagine with olive oil before storing it.
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