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The Tajine Pot. Form And Performance

The Tajine Pot. Form And Performance

What is 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 each tender meat dishes and fragrant vegetable concoctions. Both 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.

Deciding on 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 at the narrow prime of the cone, others don't–the opening helps steam escape in tajines with a decent-fitting lid.

Consider clay. Traditional cooking tajines are made from clay, generally simply glazed, while others are decorated with colorful Moroccan-type motifs. The clay offers dishes an earthy flavor. There are also decorative ceramic vessels which can be designed simply for use to present dishes, to not cook them. Be certain your tajine is supposed for the oven if you happen to plan to cook with it.

Opt for convenience. Modern tajines are made from cast iron, porcelain-covered cast iron and stainless steel. They usually value as much as three or 4 times more than a traditional clay tajine; nonetheless, they're easier to make use of since they will move from stovehigh to oven and take higher heat when browning ingredients on the stovetop.

If traditional is your choice, you have to treatment your clay tajine by soaking it in water for at the very least an hour, then rubbing a small quantity 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 in the backside of the tajine, the cover put in place and the tajine carried careabsolutely to a pre-heated oven for a protracted, 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 moving 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 stovehigh, caramelizing meat or hearty vegetables like carrots much like a traditional stew recipe. Different ingredients are then layered on high, 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 may be switchred to a low oven for a protracted braise.

Patience is essential for tajine cooking. The whole point of the tajine’s design is to seize aromatic condensation, allowing the advanced, spiced layers to merge into a scrumptious concoction. Do not attempt to speed the process by raising the heat, especially if you're 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 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 recent olives.

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