Liliane’s Dafina

Liliane’s Dafina

Ever since I had dafina at the home of Moshe and Titi Haliwa in Marrakesh a few months ago, I’ve been dreaming about it. Unlike bean-heavy Ashkenazi cholent, dafina is a Morrocan stew that’s loaded with meat, bones, chickpeas, rice, wheat berries, potatoes and eggs! I love that the components are cooked separately in little packets and that there’s something for everyone in this loaded overnight stew.

A little while ago, I attempted to make dafina but it was an absolute fail! It was tasteless and watery, and the delicious kishke stuffing that Titi had made with ground beef, bread crumbs and ground almonds came out like dry cardboard. I rarely fail so badly at recipes, but I knew I needed a real Moroccan grandma to teach me the ropes! Luckily, Brigitte Dayan, a longtime follower, invited me to join her mom and sisters one Friday afternoon to learn to make dafina together! They put out an amazing spread of some of Liliane’s homemade Moroccan pastries, and we got to work making dafina and boulettes – the most delicious Moroccan meatballs (recipe coming soon)

Of course Moroccan grandmothers never measure, so I was so grateful that Liliane took the time to roughly measure the ingredients with me. It was so clear to me how much love she puts into her dishes, and she even got all dolled up to cook together! Liliane told me all about her life growing up in Morocco, and how she once hosted the prince for a Shabbos meal! She shared how everyone in town would bring their dafina pot on Friday’s to be cooked in one central area, and then they would pick them up on Shabbat afternoon, or have a local muslim deliver it. Sometimes you would get the wrong pot (her mom put a special sign on the handle)! Liliane’s recipe is very savory, while the one Titi had made was more on the sweet side (she adds dried dates) but feel free to play around and make it your own!

Does your family have a secret dafina ingredient? Share it in the comments below!

Thank you so much to the Dayan family for welcoming me in your home to cook dafina together! I had a blast!

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