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Jan 12, 2013 09:09 AM

Stovetop clay tagine cooking -- can I heat to a simmer without a diffuser?

I love my clay Le Souk cooking tagine, but have only been cooking in the oven with it because I couldn't get it hot enough with the diffuser for a good simmer - but was I just too impatient waiting for it to heat? (I have never used a diffuser, and I'm scared of all the warnings that range top cooking will crack it.) I have a Viking stove. Does anyone else with a Viking (or similar) cook a CLAY (not metal enamel) tagine on the stovetop and get a simmer going without a diffuser? (Or with one?) Thanks!

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  1. They clearly state on low heat preferably with a diffuser.
    That said of coarse the heat needs to be high enough to simmer the ingredients. With my Wolf I use a diffuser and because of the power of the range would not do so with out one.

    1. I have used cheap Chinese clay pots (sand pot) and a Spanish cazuela on a portable gas burner without a diffuser. I start these with a low flame, and increase the flame as the pot warms up. Once the contents are bubbling, I have to turn the flame down as low it will go.

      1. thanks. chefj, how high a flame do you end up with when you get a simmer over the diffuser?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Kate Cortesi

          Not to cute, but one that keeps a very low simmer. It changes with what is in the pot and the quantity.

        2. I'd say follow the manufacturers recommendations.

          I've only used a diffuser when I've cooked on electric coils with my unglazed rifi tagine. My other tagine is Emile Henry flameware and I've used it directly on gas burners and electric ( both coil and glass top stoves). Just start low and gradually raise the heat.

          1. I've found that (with a diffuser) starting low with electric coil elements and slowly moving up can result in the clay pot not coming to a boil for a couple of hours. So I start at medium, and move it to medium-high to high shortly afterwards. If there are solids in the pot in addition to liquid, the pot comes to a boil much faster. But once it does start boiling, then I turn the heat way down.