Many visitors to Morocco are familiar with Tagine, the classic slow cooked Moroccan meal prepared in a cone shaped clay pot of the same name. The ancient City of Marrakech has a signature slow cooked dish which is even more special, the TANJIA.
500 grams of lamb, cubed
1⁄2 a preserved lemon
7 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved 1 tablespoon salted smen
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon ground saffron
60 millilitres olive oil
Add all ingredients to a tangia pot with 600 millilitres of water and cover the top with a sheet of wax paper, using a string to seal it shut. Shake to combine and carry the tangia down the street to the farnatchi (the fire pit that heats the local hammam). If Si Mohammed isn’t there, it's ok to leave it with his son. Spend your afternoon wandering the streets of the Medina and come back around 6 hours later. After paying a few dirhams, carry the tangia home, transfer to a serving dish, and eat immediately with khobz.
- If you don’t have access to a tangia pot, you can cook this dish in a cast-iron or terra cotta casserole dish. Simply toss in all of the ingredients, give it a good stir, and cook in a conventional oven at 100o C (212o F) for 6 hours. Remove from heat, place in a serving dish, and dig in.
Ask your butcher not to trim the fat from your lamb. For best results, ask them to weigh out 500 grams of lamb with about 5-10% fat and 10% bone (bone cut into rings roughly 2-3 centimetres thick). The excess fat and bone marrow will melt into the dish and add flavour. Bones can be removed before serving or discarded when eating.
Tangia is a dish that is traditional to Marrakech, cooked in a distinctive pot that shares the same name. The tangia is loaded up and taken to the local farnatchi where it is slow- cooked—not in the fire itself, but in the ashes which are stored in long troughs next to it. The management of the ashes is a treasured skill in and of itself, as they are routinely changed to assure even cooking of the tangias they hold. After roasting for 6 hours, locals pick up the tangias and take them back home to enjoy.
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