How to: how to use the tagine


How to: how to use the tagine

The tagine is a terracotta pot used for the preparation of Moroccan cuisine: here are some tips for using it to the fullest.

How many of you have returned from a trip to Morocco galvanized and enthusiastic with a tagine in your suitcase dreaming of proposing again in Italy the delicious dishes enjoyed on vacation? So far everything easy.The cooking method is based on steam, adding little fat, preserving all the aromasThe problems start once you get home when you find yourself staring at it sitting at your kitchen table, problems that can be summarized in a single, fundamental question: and now how do I use it? But let’s start from the beginning and start by clarifying what it is. The tagine is a sort of terracotta pot consisting of a dish – flat, round, rather large and with slightly raised edges – surmounted by a conical lid whose purpose is to convey the steam that forms inside the casserole downwards in order to prevent the aromas from dispersing and keep the dish moist, giving it time to cook slowly without drying, acquiring flavor and softness instead. With the tagineyou can prepare dishes based on meat, fish or just vegetables , characterized by slow and prolonged cooking, over low heat, by the presence of spices and aromatic herbs and by the use of few added fats and therefore healthier and less caloric. This pot is ideal for dishes belonging to the North African tradition such as mqualli based on chicken, olives and lemon or kefta that is lamb and beef patties with onions, but also to the Italian one such as cod in milk or stew.

On the market there are beautiful ones, enamelled or not, decorated, with bright colors or simply left natural. The terracotta tagine needs a few small tricks before being usedOriginally it was designed to be used on embers, but today there are models with a cast iron bottom , capable of withstanding higher direct temperatures and therefore can be placed directly on the stove in contact with the fire; online we have seen some even in silicone. If your tagine is entirely in terracotta, before using it for the first time, remember to undergo a small activation procedure.: it should in fact be immersed in water for a few hours, dried, sprinkled internally with oil, tempered in the oven at 150 ° C for about a couple of hours and finally left to cool in the oven off and then washed with hot water or possibly lemon or vinegar, but never use soaps or other detergents. If, on the other hand, it is made of other materials, proceed with the preparation of the chosen dish.

How to use the tagine

Whether you have decided to cook a vegetarian tagine or a protein-containing tagine – yes, you got it right: the cooked dish takes the same name as the container used to prepare it – keep some precautions in mind.

 

  1. To have a cooking as uniform as possible, place a frangiframma between the tagine and the fire, so that it does not touch it in a single point.
  2. The cooking method inside the tagine is based on the production of steam. If the ingredients that make up the dish do not contain enough water, it is essential to add liquids at the beginning of cooking .
  3. The fire must be gentle and constant , without jolts. If you deem it necessary, use a higher flame to brown the meat before starting to cook and close the tagine.
  4. Ingredients that require a longer cooking time must be added first, in contact with the dish, starting from the center outwards . The others must be added on top of these, possibly even during cooking.
  5. The use of spices makes the difference , use them to give intense flavors to dishes and to limit the use of salt and fats as much as possible.

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