Wednesday, 10 July 2013

God Is Our Refuge and Strength



Finally, I cook a Moroccan Chicken Tajine! I have this tajine but dared not use for fear of pot cracking. Some tajines are for decorative and serving purpose and I am not sure if mine is made for serving only. Tajine dishes are basically braises and stews. I feel a tajine dish should be cooked in a tajine and not in any pots, otherwise it shouldn't be called tajine but a slow cooked or stewed dish. Any kind of vegetables and meats can be cooked in a tajine, chicken and lamb being the more popular ones.




Like the Chinese claypots,  Glazed or unglazed tajines must be seasoned before use. Soak the tajine in water overnight, wipe dry and leave in a warm oven at 150C for two hours. After 2 hours, switch off and leave the tajine to cool in the oven. Coat the base and cover of the tajine with olive oil and the tajine is now ready to use. The tajine pot comes with a conical shape cover and the base is also the serving plate. The conical shape cover allows the hot air to circulate and condensate, keeping the food moist and sealing in the flavour. Tajines must be cooked on a very small fire, usually with a heat diffuser which I do not have. Some tajines can also be cooked in the oven.




Moroccan food has Berber, Moorish and Arab influences. Spices and herbs like cumin, tumeric, cinnamon,saffron,ginger,parsley and coriander are found in most dishes. Besides olives and dried fruits, another essential ingredient in Moroccan cooking is preserved lemons. Moroccan preserved lemons are made from Moroccan citron or lemons and they are sold in jars at some specialty food stores. You can preserve lemons at home, with any type of lemons, kosher salt and lemon juice. I have a jar which I have preserved for a few months.




There are many chicken tajines recipes and I chose this recipe from the Food Safari mainly because I enjoy watching the show and the foods that are featured are by the natives who settle in Australia. This chicken tajine recipe was from the Moroccan chef owner of a restaurant in Manly, Sydney, Out Of Africa. Incidentally, the chef is organizing a 14 days culinary tour to Morocco in October. I have never been to Morocco and have not tried any Moroccan food, I hope the taste is authentic as any other chicken tajines in Morocco. You can still cook this dish if you like even though you do not have a tajine.






Chicken Tajine with Preserved lemons
Food Safari

Ingredients

Chermoula marinade
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 preserved lemon, rind only, rinsed and finely sliced
2 onions, chopped
1/2 small red chilli
1 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tbsp chopped coriander
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
2 bay leaves, torn in half
1/2 tsp saffron threads, soaked in a little water
125ml olive oil
salt


1 small chicken (1- 1.2 kg)
2 tomatoes, 1 chopped, 1 sliced
2 onions, 1 chopped, 1 sliced
2 large potatoes, cut into wedges

150g pitted green olives(no olives)
1 bunch coriander, chopped
250ml; water
1 preserved lemon, rind only, rinsed and cut into 6 or 8 wedges


Method




  • Combine the marinade ingredients in a food processor and blend until finely chopped and thoroughly combined. Leave for 30 minutes before using ( or you can make this up to 7 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator).

  • Wash and dry the chicken. Cut out the backbone and trim off the wing tips and any excess fat. Chop into pieces. Place in a bowl and rub with half of the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or ideally overnight.


  • Combined the chopped tomato and onion with a little more marinade and spread over the base of a tajine (this will prevent the chicken from burning on the bottom). Arrange the chicken pieces in the centre of the tajine. Coat the potato wedges in a little more marinade and arrange around the chicken. Top with the sliced onion, then the sliced tomato, and push the olives into the gaps.(no olives) Combine the remaining marinade with the coriander and water and pour over the top. Decorate with preserved lemon wedges.





  • Cover the tajine with the lid and cook over a very low heat on the stove for 45 minutes. Don't stir or lift the lid during cooking
  • Take the tajine to the table and serve with couscous and harissa.(no sides)














For dessert, I baked an Orange Almond Cake which is also known as Moroccan Orange Cake.

 Does Morocco sound like an exotic country to you? It is close to Europe, but unlike Europe it is unique and different because it has Arab, Islamic and Berber, African and European influences. Well, the names of these famous cities in Morocco: Marrakech, Casablanca, Fez and Tangier already sound so appealing and fascinating to me. If you have never been to Morocco like me, try this famous national dish to get the exotic taste first, and maybe sight later:D

This post is linked to Little Thumbs Up "GINGER" hosted by Alvin, chef and sommelier,
Zoe, Bake for Happy kids and Doreen, My little favourite DIY





God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

15 comments:

  1. Hi Lian,

    You have a tajine! I wish to have one too but my husband said that it is just another cooking pot that I wouldn't use too often... *sign*

    Do you think it make any difference in your cooking?

    Zoe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think there is difference, unless you cook the old traditional way in a unglazed tajine over a charcoal burner;D

      Delete
  2. Hi Lian, what an exotic dish! Lots of ingredients in the marinade to make the dish so delicious. Your Tajine is very beautiful, more like a decorative item.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly Phong Hong, thought my tajine is for decorative purpose, so dare not cook until now. I was keeping my fingers crossed that it will not crack during cooking.

      Delete
  3. Hi Lian! You actually have a tajine at home?!! That's interesting! You should explore more recipes using this! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes!!! Will try lamb tajine next :)

      Delete
  4. Hi Lian,
    I saw this tajine in Kylie Kwong cooking show.
    I am curious does this special pot cook really makes a difference in cooking?

    Your chicken cook in tajine does looks very appetizing though :D
    Thanks for sharing this in LTU.
    mui

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Mui Mui, this chicken tajine is very flavorful. Don't think much difference if you use other pot, my tajine is more for presentation, adds exoticism to Moroccan feast if you are entertaining at home.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi;

    I love your write up about using the tajine for the first time. I just got a tajine recently as a gift for my birthday. I haven't used it yet, for fear, it might break. I'm also on the look out for tajine dishes and I'm glad LTU brought me here :-) Love your dish. BTW, I just made taboulé salad using couscous but unfortunately no tajine dish :-(

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Nasifriet, nice to know you. Have you seasoned your tajine yet? Heating in a low heat oven is a good way to check if your pot is cracking and avoid messy spillage.
    My suggestion is for you to use your tajine for presentation if it is of sentimental value to you. You can use any heavy bottomed pot to cook and transfer the dish to the serving plate. I heard many restaurants in morocco are doing this way.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Lian, thanks for the tip :-)
    I haven't seasoned my tajine, but washed it in soapy hot water. That's what the instruction recommended, but I think the method of heating in a low heat oven is a lot better. Yes, I think my tajine is of sentimental value given the fact that it's a birthday gift. Guess I will transfer the final dish to the tajine as presentation :-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi, your tajine is so beautiful the chicken is very flavourful :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks Ivy. I am not sure if I cook this again. I am more of a herb person than spice. I like this because of the coriander and parsley.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Lian!
    I have been looking for a tajine in KL but to no avail! ;((
    Will love to be able to cook tajine dishes properly. Where did you get yours?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Emily, I got my tajine from Dubai. Neoflam from Korea has 22cm tajine selling in qoo10 and departmental stores here. They are of modern design.

      Delete

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