The Tajine Pot. Form And Performance

The Tajine Pot. Form And Performance

What's a tajine ?
The tajine—typically spelled tagine—is the traditional clay cooking pot used by North African cooks to conjure up deliciously spiced, gradual-cooked stews and braises. It can be used to make both tender meat dishes and aromatic vegetable concoctions. Both traditional clay and fashionable 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 bottom with raised sides and a curved, cone-shaped top that condenses cooking vapors, keeping the dish moist as it slowly cooks. Some tajines have an opening on the narrow top of the cone, others do not–the hole helps steam escape in tajines with a good-fitting lid.

Consider clay. Traditional cooking tajines are made from clay, typically simply glazed, while others are decorated with colourful Moroccan-model motifs. The clay gives dishes an earthy flavor. There are also decorative ceramic vessels which are designed simply for use to present dishes, to not cook them. Be sure your tajine is supposed for the oven in case you plan to cook with it.

Opt for convenience. Fashionable tajines are made from forged iron, porcelain-covered cast iron and stainless steel. They usually value up to three or four times more than a traditional clay tajine; nonetheless, they are simpler to make use of since they'll move from stovehigh 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 placed in a cold oven which is then set for 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 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 backside 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 amount 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, 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. 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 stovetop, or the dish might be switchred to a low oven for a long braise.

Persistence is essential for tajine cooking. The whole level of the tajine’s design is to seize fragrant condensation, permitting the complicated, spiced layers to merge into a scrumptious concoction. Do not try to speed the process by elevating the heat, particularly if you're using a clay tajine, which can crack if the temperature is simply too high.

Serve your tajine dish with a flourish, leaving the cone-formed 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 mix of spices and unique ingredients like preserved lemon and recent olives.

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