What’s a tajine ?
The tajine—typically 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 each tender meat dishes and fragrant vegetable concoctions. Both traditional clay and trendy tajines, made from quite a lot of materials, share the identical design—a shallow base with a tall, curved, cone-shaped lid.
Selecting a tajine
Understand the design. All tajines have a particular form–a shallow backside with raised sides and a curved, cone-formed prime that condenses cooking vapors, keeping the dish moist as it slowly cooks. Some tajines have a gap on the slim prime of the cone, others don’t–the hole helps steam escape in tajines with a tight-fitting lid.
Consider clay. Traditional cooking tajines are made from clay, typically merely glazed, while others are decorated with colorful Moroccan-model motifs. The clay offers dishes an earthy flavor. There are also ornamental ceramic vessels which are designed simply to be used to present dishes, to not cook them. Make sure your tajine is supposed for the oven if you plan to cook with it.
Opt for convenience. Modern tajines are made from cast iron, porcelain-covered forged iron and stainless steel. They usually cost as much as three or four instances more than a traditional clay tajine; however, they are simpler to use since they’ll move from stoveprime to oven and take higher heat when browning ingredients on the stovetop.
If traditional is your choice, it’s essential to treatment your clay tajine by soaking it in water for at the least an hour, then rubbing a small amount of olive oil over the interior. The tajine is then placed 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 within the bottom of the tajine, the cover put in place and the tajine carried carefully to a pre-heated oven for a protracted, gradual cooking process. Typically, a small quantity of olive oil is poured into the base of the tajine, then ingredients are layered with the more strong and sturdier ingredients getting in first. Spices are then sprinkled over the ingredients, plus olives or preserved lemon, very common ingredients in North African cooking.
Different recipes start on the stovehigh, caramelizing meat or hearty vegetables like carrots much like a traditional stew recipe. Other ingredients are then layered on prime, spices added, plus a small amount of liquid to help create the sauce. Cooking continues on a low heat on the stovehigh, or the dish can be transferred to a low oven for a long braise.
Endurance is essential for tajine cooking. The whole level of the tajine’s design is to seize aromatic condensation, allowing the complicated, spiced layers to merge into a scrumptious concoction. Do not attempt to velocity the process by elevating the heat, particularly if you are using a clay tajine, which can crack if the temperature is too high.
Serve your tajine dish with a flourish, leaving the cone-shaped lid in place until you place it on the table in front 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 fresh olives.
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