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 aromatic vegetable concoctions. Each traditional clay and modern tajines, made from quite a lot of supplies, share the same design—a shallow base with a tall, curved, cone-shaped lid.
Choosing a tajine
Understand the design. All tajines have a particular shape–a shallow backside with raised sides and a curved, cone-shaped prime that condenses cooking vapors, keeping the dish moist as it slowly cooks. Some tajines have a gap at the narrow top of the cone, others don’t–the hole helps steam escape in tajines with a decent-fitting lid.
Consider clay. Traditional cooking tajines are made from clay, sometimes simply glazed, while others are decorated with colorful Moroccan-type motifs. The clay gives dishes an earthy flavor. There are also ornamental ceramic vessels which might be designed merely to be used to present dishes, to not cook them. Ensure your tajine is supposed for the oven for those who plan to cook with it.
Opt for convenience. Trendy tajines are made from forged iron, porcelain-covered forged iron and stainless steel. They often price as much as three or 4 times more than a traditional clay tajine; nonetheless, they are easier to make use of since they can move from stovetop to oven and take higher heat when browning ingredients on the stovetop.
If traditional is your selection, you will need to remedy your clay tajine by soaking it in water for no less than an hour, then rubbing a small amount 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 within the bottom of the tajine, the cover put in place and the tajine carried caretotally to a pre-heated oven for a protracted, sluggish cooking process. Typically, a small amount of olive oil is poured into the base of the tajine, then ingredients are layered with the more sturdy and sturdier ingredients getting 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 much like a traditional stew recipe. Other ingredients are then layered on prime, spices added, plus a small amount of liquid to assist create the sauce. Cooking continues on a low heat on the stoveprime, or the dish could be transferred to a low oven for an extended braise.
Patience is essential for tajine cooking. The whole point of the tajine’s design is to capture aromatic condensation, allowing the advanced, spiced layers to merge right into a scrumptious concoction. Do not attempt to velocity the process by raising the heat, especially if you are using a clay tajine, which can crack if the temperature is simply too high.
Serve your tajine dish with a flourish, leaving the cone-shaped lid in place until you place it on the table in entrance of your guests. Lifting the cone will release a cloud of aroma from the wonderful mix of spices and unique ingredients like preserved lemon and contemporary olives.
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