Tangia is a typical dish most popular among the inhabitants of Marrakech. It is famous among the craftsmen who prepare it and share it during the picnic that is known locally as Nzahas. The dish is an eloquent illustration of the interest given to the preservation of the intangible cultural heritage of Morocco in the culinary field, rich and diversified with delicacies whose reputation has crossed borders.
The Tanjia was able to resist the new way of life and galloping modernity, it has always accompanied the influence of Marrakech and its notoriety as one of the most privileged major international tourist destinations.
This culinary heritage has thus aroused the admiration and curiosity of great chefs worldwide, due to its delicious taste and the particularity of its preparation, which requires in-depth knowledge of its ingredients and stands out completely from any other traditional dishes.
The city of Marrakech, witnessed the existence of several types of Tanjia that tourists, Moroccans or foreigners crave and desire to taste in specialized restaurants during their stay in the ‘ochre city’, the Tanja prepared by the modern method and served in restaurants, certainly has the same taste, but it lacks the authentic ritual that accompanies its preparation at the fernatchi, This unique dish is known for its exceptional ritual of preparation and the method of its cooking since it is buried under ashes and embers at the traditional stove. This method represents the ultimate expression of love and respect for the pure Marrakchi culture.
The origins of Tangia
Tanjia is the most distinguished Moroccan dish in Marrakech. An authentic and quite delicious culinary masterpiece inherited by the Marrakeshi from their ancestors and which will remain present in the traditions of Moroccan gastronomy.
The dish of Tangia has been historically linked to the city of Marrakech and inseparable from the Nzahas that craftsmen arrange every Friday in parks and gardens of the city to seek relief from the stress of the week and enjoy their time. Tangia has long been a symbol of the legendary hospitality of the Marrakchi people and their overflowing joy of living, their conviviality and their friendliness.
"Tanjia" was always a specialty of men, the preparation of this purely traditional dish is often entrusted to someone who masters the know-how and knows the secrets of its preparation, including the ingredients, the ritual and the method of cooking according to the traditional rules. "Tanjia" can be prepared with chicken meat, veal and beef shanks, and even rabbit meat.
Even if a restaurant in Marrakech wishes to adopt it in its main menu, the attempt may not be as successful as it is in the famous traditional public ovens of the red city. Eating Tangia in restaurants remains an optional alternative if you are short on time or if you are just passing through for a short stay in Marrakech.
Tanjia famous legend
The emblematic Tanja is more than a dish; it is a state of mind. Cooking is a whole process that requires patience; you have to take your small jar to the farnatchi (the wood-fired oven that heats traditional hammams). There, the Tanja will be cooked for hours under the ashes.
The legend says that once upon a time in Marrakech, a long time ago, a husband and his wife spent their time bickering. One day, during one of their arguments, the wife yelled at her husband: “You are shouting, you are shouting! But you can never do without me. If I wasn't here, you wouldn't even be able to cook for yourself."
The husband took this insidious attack very badly. He then set out to demonstrate to his wife that he would not starve without her. The problem is that he knew nothing about cooking. He did not discourage. He took all the ingredients he found in the kitchen. He mixed them in a jar and took them to the farnatchi to cook, because he was unable to use the brazier or the canoun (the traditional oven) and that is how the Tanjia was created.
Tanjia special ingredients
To prepare this slow-cooked Marrakesh dish you need to mix:
- 4 pieces of veal shank;
- 1 pinch of “ras and hanout”;
- 1 teaspoon of cumin;
- 4 to 6 threads of saffron;
- 6 cloves of garlic;
- a little butter;
- olive oil;
- 2 small candied lemons;
- 15 cl of water;
- a little salt;
- edible oil (sunflower or peanut).
Transfer the seasoned meat mixture to the tangia and add olive oil, preserved lemon wedges and water. Cover the top of the tangia with a circle of parchment paper and cover the parchment paper with a layer of aluminum foil, wrapping and sealing the foil snugly to the tangia. Pierce the foil and parchment paper in 2 or 3 places with a fork. Place the tangia in the oven and leave it for 5 to 6 hours, at which time you can check to see if the meat is adequately cooked. It should fall off the bone and be buttery-tender.