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Food for a Man- The Moroccan Tangia

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May 26, 2014 / Moroccan / By
Rachael

Walk around any of the food souks in Morocco and there is an instant hit of smells, sounds and amazing sights. Stalls piled high with fragrant mint, women dashing about shopping for the evening meal, and piles of fresh fruit and vegetables fill the market places. In a corner of Marrakech's busy souk are the tangia sellers, often unnoticed by tourists, but a "go to" place for those in the know.

A tangia is a clay cooking pot shaped like an urn. It is also the name of the dish that is cooked in this intriguing item. The pot is glazed on the inside and needs to be seasoned before it is used. A tangia is real soul food and originated in Marrakech as the practical meal for unmarried men. Typically it is seen as a man's food item in Marrakech.

Although ready made tangia pots can be purchased in the Marrakech food souk, it is a dish that is easy to do in the home and is the Moroccan version of a slow cooker. It also utilises key elements of a community in Morocco. Each quartier or district in a Moroccan city has a communal bread oven, a madrassa, a water fountain, and a mosque which serves the local community.

When men make their tangias in the morning they season pieces of lamb, onion, and garlic with a range of Moroccan spices. Common spices include cumin, cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, and ginger which are all found in the souk. A blend known as Ras Al Hanout is also used in Moroccan cuisine. The tangia pot is then sealed uncooked and when the men leave for work they head to the local hammam. The hammam or bath house is heated by a fire under the building and with a constant supply of embers this doubles as the tangia oven. The pots are placed in the hot embers to sizzle and stew away all day whilst the men are at work. Each pot is marked so the correct owner can be found once the delicious stew is cooked. Another daily activity in the community is bread making. Each housewife sends her loaves to the communal bread oven to be baked. Households have their own distinctive mark so that they can be correctly identified once ready.

When a man finishes work he heads off to the hammam, either to pick up his evening meal or to wash in the bath house. There is nothing quite like a delicious piece of lamb after a spruce up in the hammam. Women eat tangia too, but it is generally seen as a man's dish, and is very common at communal events where males gather.

Tangia is real soul food, prepared simply and enjoyed in a relaxing way with company. It is one of the many dishes that are firmly at the heart of Moroccan cuisine and make the food here so divine. In Morocco the food is a major reason for visiting the country, and to understand the culture accompanying it is an added insight into the heart and soul of the nation.

Marrakech

Country: Morocco

Province/State: Marrakesh-Tensift-El Haouz

City: Marrakech

Address: N/A

Zip/Post Code: N/A

Location Tips: N/A

Phone: N/A

Website:N/A

Price Guide:$ (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

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