So lately I started to run out of dinner ideas to feed the hubby. I have been trying to cook foods that will cut down on meat or didn’t have meat to be the main highlight of the dish. I didn’t know any good meat free recipes that would appeal to him. So by the Qadar of Allah swa, this month was the re start up of Mena Cooking Club! We were advised to put our personal twist on the recipe and that got me thinking hmmmm maybe I can substitute the meat for something much more filling like potatoes, lentils or even chickpeas. So for today recipe we will make Mahjouba!
Now before we get into the recipes since this is a food ethnic blog we need to know about the country this recipes derived from right?
Algeria is a country whose foods are quite similar to that of morocco, Tunisia, Libya etc. Its in North Africa and from what I think has an amazing array of delicious foods.
Mahjouba is one of the most popular street foods in Algeria. It is a sort of a pancake/crepe made of semolina, filled with a mixture of cooked onion & tomatoes. I love it served with a good helping of harissa – a North African chili paste, but of course it is equally as delicious without.
Now I decided to make 2 versions (Only showed 1). One with meat and the other without meat.
I realized from browsing recipes that Mahjouba has 3 essentials as in it has some fundamental ingredients that give it that Mahjouba characteristic (in terms of the filling)
Now after that you can pretty much add what ever you want, which is why I felt this recipe was a perfect one in terms of meatless meals/ recipes. Don’t you think?
So now that we have a glimpse as to what Mahjoubah is, shall we start with the recipe?
(I adapted this recipe and added my own species and took out 1 ingredient (the tomatoes) and added some of my own.)
Yields up to 4 servings (can vary)
1 medium onion
1 Table Spoon Tomato Paste
1/4 Cup Oil (any flavorless oil will do)
1 teaspoon of minced garlic or 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
For a meat free meat, you can add
Seitan finely minced
or any vegan or vegetarian meat minced
All of the ingredients above just add meat of your choice and to taste, I added around 1/2 pound of shrimp minced/diced finely.
other meat alternatives can be
chicken breast minced
Any minced meat for that matter.
I understand some vegetarians eat seafood. so shrimp and salmon etc. Finley chopped would be great as well.
I used Cooking With Alia’s Moroccan Pancake recipe so go to the recipe——–> here and come back after you are done preparing the dough (do not shape it!). Then we will shape and make the filling for the Mahjoubah.
As you are letting the dough balls rest, now its time to make the filling.
For the filling you will need to place a medium sized sauce pan on medium heat and add the oil, onions and garlic and sauté till onions are a little translucent and garlic is fragrant about 3-5 min.
When the onions are starting to get translucent add the spices and cook for 30 seconds.
Then add the tomato paste and meat/fish and cook till the meat/fish is fully cooked but not dry.
When the meat is cooked turn of the heat and set aside.
Step B Assemble:
So Alia can explain this part better then I can,
“After 15 minutes, the dough balls are ready to be shaped into squares, which is the traditional shape of Msemmen.(in this case mahjoubah!)
2- Brush your kitchen counter with vegetable oil. Take a dough ball and flatten it with the palm of your hand. Using your fingers, gently push the edges of the dough to expand it into a very thin disk of dough – the dough is almost transparent at this point and you can somewhat see your kitchen counter through it.”
Now add the filling and as Alia states “fold the right and left edges of the dough towards the center, on top of each other, to form a square.”
take each square and flatten it out into a bigger square.
take a frying pan and heat it up on medium high heat.
Place the Mahjoubah in the frying pan and cook both sides till golden brown.
The dough might puff up a bit but thats ok, as it will go down after it is taken off the heat.
Serve immediately or freeze up till 1 month.
Note: if you don’t have enough filling you can always make more but this depends on how much filling you put in each Mahjoubah!