The Tajine Pot. Form And Function
The tajine—generally spelled tagine—is the traditional clay cooking pot utilized by North African cooks to conjure up deliciously spiced, gradual-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 a wide range of materials, 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 top 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 opening helps steam escape in tajines with a good-fitting lid.
Consider clay. Traditional cooking tajines are made from clay, generally merely glazed, while others are decorated with colourful Moroccan-model motifs. The clay offers dishes an earthy flavor. There are additionally ornamental ceramic vessels that are designed merely to be used to present 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 forged iron, porcelain-covered forged iron and stainless steel. They typically price as much as three or 4 occasions more than a traditional clay tajine; nonetheless, they're easier to make use of since they'll move from stoveprime to oven and take higher heat when browning ingredients on the stovetop.
If traditional is your choice, you should cure your clay tajine by soaking it in water for at the very least 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 in the bottom of the tajine, the cover put in place and the tajine carried carefully to a pre-heated oven for an extended, sluggish 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 moving into first. Spices are then sprinkled over the ingredients, plus olives or preserved lemon, quite common ingredients in North African cooking.
Different recipes begin on the stovehigh, 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 help create the sauce. Cooking continues on a low heat on the stovetop, or the dish could be switchred to a low oven for a long braise.
Persistence is essential for tajine cooking. The whole point of the tajine’s design is to seize aromatic condensation, permitting the complicated, spiced layers to merge into a delicious concoction. Don't attempt to pace the process by raising the heat, especially if you are using a clay tajine, which can crack if the temperature is just 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 distinctive ingredients like preserved lemon and recent olives.
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