What’s a tajine ?
The tajine—sometimes spelled tagine—is the traditional clay cooking pot utilized by North African cooks to conjure up deliciously spiced, slow-cooked stews and braises. It may be used to make both tender meat dishes and fragrant vegetable concoctions. Both traditional clay and fashionable tajines, made from quite a lot of supplies, share the identical design—a shallow base with a tall, curved, cone-shaped lid.
Selecting a tajine
Understand the design. All tajines have a distinctive shape–a shallow bottom with raised sides and a curved, cone-formed high that condenses cooking vapors, keeping the dish moist as it slowly cooks. Some tajines have an opening on the slender high of the cone, others do not–the opening helps steam escape in tajines with a decent-fitting lid.
Consider clay. Traditional cooking tajines are made from clay, typically simply glazed, while others are decorated with colourful Moroccan-type motifs. The clay gives dishes an earthy flavor. There are additionally decorative ceramic vessels which might be designed simply for use to current dishes, not to cook them. Make certain your tajine is supposed for the oven if you happen to plan to cook with it.
Opt for convenience. Trendy tajines are made from cast iron, porcelain-covered forged iron and stainless steel. They typically cost as much as three or four instances more than a traditional clay tajine; nonetheless, they are simpler to use since they can move from stovetop to oven and take higher heat when browning ingredients on the stovetop.
If traditional is your selection, you need to remedy your clay tajine by soaking it in water for at least an hour, then rubbing a small quantity of olive oil over the interior. The tajine is then positioned in a cold oven which is then set for 350 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours. Some cooks use a heat diffuser with their clay tajine when cooking on the stovetop.
Cooking in a tajine
Some tajine recipes call for ingredients to be layered in the backside of the tajine, the cover put in place and the tajine carried carefully to a pre-heated oven for a long, slow cooking process. Typically, a small quantity of olive oil is poured into the bottom of the tajine, then ingredients are layered with the more robust and sturdier ingredients stepping into first. Spices are then sprinkled over the ingredients, plus olives or preserved lemon, very common ingredients in North African cooking.
Different recipes begin on the stoveprime, caramelizing meat or hearty vegetables like carrots a lot like a traditional stew recipe. Different ingredients are then layered on top, spices added, plus a small quantity of liquid to assist create the sauce. Cooking continues on a low heat on the stovetop, or the dish might be switchred to a low oven for a protracted braise.
Persistence is essential for tajine cooking. The entire point of the tajine’s design is to capture aromatic condensation, permitting the complex, spiced layers to merge right into a scrumptious concoction. Don’t try to speed the process by raising the heat, particularly if you are utilizing a clay tajine, which can crack if the temperature is just too high.
Serve your tajine dish with a flourish, leaving the cone-formed lid in place till you place it on the table in entrance of your guests. Lifting the cone will launch a cloud of aroma from the wonderful mixture of spices and distinctive ingredients like preserved lemon and recent olives.
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