Souad, the chef maalma for Cafe Clock, has been keen for a long time to create Tanjia for our clients as it was a household favorite when she was small girl in Nador. Our colleague Gail of Fezfood does a fantastic culinary tour incorporating the ingredients for a Tanjia finished by collecting the clay pot from the Farane to enjoy on a riad rooftop. Also Helen Ranger of the always informative ‘A Veiw from Fez’ recently raved about her tanjia exploits (see below or http://riadzany.blogspot.com/)
Due to the justified demand for this fabulously tasty meal Cafe Clock offers (with 24hrs notice) a specially prepared Tanjia for two (250dhs). The clay pot will served at your table accompanied by a mixed salad and home-cut chips. If you have yet to experience the Tangia get yourself to Cafe Clock and book your clay pot…..mmmm….delicious!!!
‘The tanjia is a classical clay pot that is used for cooking. The same word is used for both the pot and the resulting dish – rather like the word tajine. A tanjia is a well-known bachelor dish, and every man in the medina will tell you how difficult it is to make (perhaps it is, for men who don’t usually cook!). Ingredients differ around Morocco – in Marrakech they don’t use onions; in Fez they do.
First we took our tanjia to the butcher on Tala’a Kebira, and asked for 1kg of lamb on the bone. He chopped it up for us, and stuffed it into the tanjia. Meanwhile, we cut an onion into large chunks and tossed it in along with a whole head of garlic, a small preserved lemon and some salt and pepper. The butcher has his own blend of ras al hanout (mixed spices)and threw in a fistful along with some chopped parsley and fresh coriander. Then we added some oil and water, and went on our way.
Our next stop was the spice seller where we added some saffron threads, cumin and some bayleaves. At the olive stall, we begged a small chilli and threw that in too. It was nearly ready for the oven.
The Ain Azleten hammam has an oven next door to heat the water, fuelled mostly by
sawdust and woodchips. This was our final stop. On the step of the oven, we mixed the contents of the tanjia with a long-handled lemonwood spoon and then secured some aluminium foil over the top. Handing it to the farnatchi (the man who looks after the fire) at noon, we were told to return at 6pm when it would be cooked to perfection.
And so it was. We went back to the hammam around 6, armed with some towels in a basket for easy of carrying, and took it home. Turned out into a serving dish, it was a delicious feast – the tenderest of meat falling off the bone, quite rich with the bone marrow that had seeped into the unctuous sauce, spicy but not hot. Served with bread and a light tomato salad, it made a wonderful meal for two.‘