By: Stephane Levy
The dafina is the main course during Sabbath, which takes a whole night to cook. Its recipe is practiced by a large majority of the Jewish Moroccan population. The dafina is considered to be a very important meal with a powerful meaning to it, from what I understand it is said “the presence of holiness is presented to he who eats the dafina during sabbath”. It's a large meal with a variety of foods such as eggs, meat, rice, sometimes lamb and potatoes. There are many different recipes for making dafinas, so the ingredients vary from time to time.
It is said that in Morocco, if you are not able to make a dafina then you cannot properly celebrate the Sabbath. In Morocco, there used to be a kind of public oven where the citizens were allowed to come the day before Sabbath to cook their dafina in it, along with bread and cakes. This was many years ago, but we, along with many Jewish Moroccans, kept its tradition and we now sit every Friday along with our family and we eat this large meal together. As for me, I don't like every ingredient in the dafina so I pick what I want. Such as the rice, the eggs and some meat, but the majority of my family takes a little bit of everything. As I said before, there are many different recipes for making a dafina, so here is one of them.
- 1 1/2kg of small potatoes
- 1kg of meat
- 3 big onions
- 4 to 6 eggs
- ½ a spoon of curcuma
- 5 to 6 cups of water
- 1 spoon of black pepper
- salt, if desired
1. Start off by peeling and rinsing the potatoes (do not cut them in pieces), fry them and place them in a big pot.
2. Roll the meat into a piece of gauze and add it to the pot.
3. Rinse the onions but not peel them, cut them in 4 pieces and place them between the eggs. Place the pot on the stove and cover it with a piece of cloth. This meal is normally cooked over night from 5pm to 1pm the next day at 250-275 degrees.
4. The dafina will end up being all golden (the onion's skin contributes to that). This dafina is the kind we prepare for Pessah.