Tagine

19
10
Joined May 13, 2008
So my tagine has arrived. I am aware that there are serving tagines and cooking tagines. How do you know the difference. This is decorative, it is solid ceramic and glazed (inside). Firstly I feel that I would not have to season this as it is sealed. Secondly, do I put this thing on a naked flame i.e gas or do I have to defuse the heat and how do I do that. I have seen a Tagine dish demo and "think" that it was on top of a low flame. Surely I can put this thing in the oven!
By the way I have purchased this blindly over the internet and did not pay a lot of money for it (don't think the guy knew the value of it). However any comments would be appreciated.
 
6,367
128
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Kiwichick there are three basic types of tagines: unglazed, glazed, and serving.

Glazed tagines designed for cooking sometimes have minor embellishments, but are usually undecorated. Those for serving are highly decorated.

Serving tagines should not be cooked in.

Glazed cooking tagines (which is apparently what you have) should not be used over direct heat without a diffuser. But they're ok to use in the oven.

Unglazed tagines can be used on top of the stove, over a very low flame. Or in the oven.

BTW, tagines were desined to be used with a special "oven" holding a small bed of charcoal.

The whole point of a tagine is to cook low and slow. Tagines (the dish, not the dish they are cooked in) are the ultimate in braising.

Have fun with yours.
 
19
10
Joined May 13, 2008
Thank you for that helpful information. With that advise and some exploring I am 999.9% sure that I have a cooking vessel. It is not overly decorated as some of the others I have looked at are. It does have minor embellishments and has been soaked for 24 hours. I will definitely use it in the oven only. Just for the record what would you sue to defuse the heat?
Cheers
Kiwichik
 
6,367
128
Joined Feb 1, 2007
There are diffusers designed for the purpose. You should be able to find them at any restaurant supply store. Or, if not, they're available on-line. Unfortunately, my list of such contacts was lost when I recently changed ISPs. But a search under "heat diffusers" should find some for you.

It's not the heat, per se, that can harm the vessel. It's being contacted by the flames, which cause hot spots that can damage, or even crack, the tagine. What happens is that it expands and contracts at different rates, putting undo stresses on the glaze, which get transferred to the clay body.

By using it in the oven, the heat is applied evenly and consistently, so that problem doesn't exist.

BTW, if you're going to get into Moroccan cooking, there are three items you cannot do without: Preserved lemons, harissa, and ras-el-hanout. You can order them on-line, or use the recipes Ghillie Basan provides in that little Tagine book you have. You also should explore a few other titles, for a more in-depth look at Morrocan and Maghreban cookery.

I haven't seen the one Cathy recommended. But she's been raving about it for some time, and I trust her judgement. So maybe see if you can find a copy.

Paula Wolfert introduced the world to Moroccan cooking back in 1987, and her seminal Couscous and Other good food from Morocco remains the basic text on the subject. There have been numerous books published since. My favorite of them is The North African Kitchen, by Fiona Dunlop, which came out last year.
 
309
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Joined Jan 2, 2007
I do a lot of tagine cooking and I ALWAYS halve the amount of apricots in any recipe. I guess if you have a sweet tooth though you can safely ignore me!:smiles:
 
19
10
Joined May 13, 2008
Thanks so much for your help and advise I absolutely appreciate it and can now move forward a lot more confidently. Will try and get my hands on those books.

Cheers

KIWICHIK
 

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