Recipe by Barbara Benssousan


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Meat Meat
Medium Medium
8 Servings
3 Hours

No Diets specified

This cooked overnight dish of meat, eggs, potatoes, and grains is the traditional Moroccan Jewish version of cholent. In Morocco, families would bring their daffinas to community ovens overnight and the kids would fetch them after shul in the morning for the Shabbat meal.


Main ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons oil

  • 2 onions, chopped

  • 1 head garlic, three cloves separated

  • 1 and 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight

  • 2 pounds flanken or kolichel

  • 3–4 marrow bones

  • 1–2 knee bones, if desired

  • 2 sweet potatoes

  • 4 pounds baby red potatoes

  • 5–6 eggs

  • 1 and 1/ cups rice

  • 3/4 cup wheat berries (chittah)

  • Salt, pepper, paprika, turmeric, cumin, hot paprika

  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon saffron dissolved in one large glass of boiling water


Prepare the Daffina


Heat the oil in a large pot and sauté the onions, adding in the head of garlic cut side down (outer skin removed, top sliced off as for roasting).


When onions are transparent, add the meat and bones (reserve one marrow bone for later) and brown them. Remove about 1/3 cup of browned onions from the pot and reserve.


Add the drained chickpeas, the sweet potatoes and potatoes, eggs, half the saffron water if desired, and about a quart of water. Spice with salt, pepper, about two teaspoons of turmeric and two tablespoons of paprika.


Prepare the rice bag: Put the rice in a small bowl; add one chopped clove of garlic, a teaspoon of oil, salt, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, the reserved chopped onions, and the reserved marrow bones. Add one cup saffron water and one and a half cups water (or two and a half cups water). (Add any remaining saffron water to the pot). Mix and pour into a plastic roasting bag; knot the bag and throw into the pot.


Add enough water to the pot so that all the ingredients are covered. Boil a couple of hours before Shabbat and leave on your blech overnight.


Prepare the wheat berries: In a bowl, mix the wheat, two chopped cloves of garlic, salt and pepper, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon hot paprika (or to taste), 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and one and a half cups wheat berries. Pour into a roasting bag and knot it, then add to pot.


Watch the rice and wheat bags as your daffina begins to heat up; the bag will often swell from the heat and pressure. Pierce a couple of holes in it to allow steam to escape. Otherwise the bag may break, the rice will fall into the daffina and you will end up with cholent instead! 


Photography by Tamara Friedman


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Suzy Israel
Suzy Israel
5 months ago

I loved this recipe! Yum!
I think step 6 needs water and also maybe step 5 and 6 need to switch places in the order? Anyway, thanks for sharing this. I loved it!!

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