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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 could also be more inclined to use trendy cookware reminiscent of pressure cookers when making stews, tagines are still favored by those that appreciate the unique, sluggish-cooked flavor that the clayware imparts to the food. In addition, tagines remain the cookware of choice in many rural areas as a matter of cultural norms.
Earlier than a new tagine can be used, you have to season it so it is strengthened to withstand moderate cooking temperatures. As soon as the tagine is seasoned, it is easy to use. But there's more to know―cooking in a tagine is different from cooking in a traditional 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 throughout the cooking, take care the way you arrange or layer ingredients for an attractive table presentation.
Tagines are most often used on the stovehigh however may also be placed within the oven. When cooking with a tagine on the stovetop, 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 must 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 obligatory to maintain a simmer. Tagines might also be used over small fires or in braziers over charcoal. It may be tricky to keep up an adequately low temperature. It's 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 will keep away from too high a heat.
Avoid subjecting the tagine to excessive temperature modifications, which can cause the tagine to crack. Don't, for example, add highly regarded liquids to a cold tagine (and vice versa), and don't set a sizzling 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 may call for browning the meat at the beginning, however this really is not needed 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 conventional pot cooking, the place vegetables are added only after the meat has already turn into 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 four to six individuals, you will want between 1/4 to 1/3 cup of oil (typically part butter), which will combine with cooking liquids to make ample sauce for scooping up with bread. Choose olive oil for the most effective flavor and its health benefits. Those with dietary or health considerations can simply avoid the sauce when eating.
Less water is required when cooking in a tagine because the cone-formed 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 at the end of cooking into a thick sauce because a watery sauce isn't desirable.
It may well take some time to reduce a big volume of liquid in a tagine. If the dish is in any other case finished, you may carefully pour the liquids into a small pan to reduce quickly, then return the thickened sauce back to the tagine.
When using a tagine, endurance is required; let the tagine reach a simmer slowly. Poultry takes about 2 hours to cook, while beef or lamb could take up to 4 hours. Strive not to interrupt the cooking by incessantly lifting the lid to check on the meals; that is best left toward the top of cooking whenever you add ingredients or check on the level of liquids.
Hot water and baking soda (or salt) are normally enough for cleaning your tagine. If needed, you can use a very gentle cleaning soap but 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 earlier than storing it.
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