The Road to Morocco

In Recipes on June 24, 2011 at 4:13 am

From Spain it is only a short trip over the Strait of Gibraltar to Tangiers in Morocco.  I haven’t been to Morocco but I have been fascinated with the place (and North Africa in general) since reading Paul Bowles’ The Sheltering Sky many years ago.  Before I die I definitely want to visit the souqs, spice markets and medinas of Tangiers, Marrakech and Fes.  Moroccan cuisine is now fairly well known around the world with the most famous dishes being tagine (a type of  stew named after the conical lidded pot in which it is cooked, there are endless variations) and cous cous.  These are, of course, a huge part of Moroccan cuisine but I thought I would look around for something different.  I found it in Meera Freeman’s A Season in Morocco.  A specialty of the region around the small town of Rissani on the edge of the Sahara, Medfouna is a type of flat bread stuffed with meat, onions and spices –  including the famous Moroccan spice mix Ras el Hanout.  The semolina dough takes a little work but it is worth it, the resulting dish is delicious.




For the dough:

500g plain flour

500g fine semolina

30g fresh or 1 sachet active dry yeast

1 tsp salt

2 cups lukewarm water

For the filling:

5oog beef mince (lamb mince is good too)

1 large onion (finely chopped)

1/2 cup flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)

1 tsp salt

1 tbs cumin

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp hot paprika

1 tsp Ras el Hanout


Mix the yeast with 2 tbs of water with a tsp of sugar and leave for 5 mins. or until it starts to bubble.  In a large bowl combine the flour, semolina and salt.  Add just enough water to form a stiff dough.  Cover and leave for 15 mins.  Knead vigorously, gradually knuckling in the rest of the water and kneading for 20 mins. until the dough is pliable and elastic.  Cover and set aside to rise for an hour.

Mix the mince with the onion, parsley, salt and spices.  Knead with your hands to combine well.  Divide the bread dough into 4 pieces.  Roll out one of the pieces to a disc about 1 cm thick (even thinner is better) and spread it with 1/2 the filling, leaving 3cm around the edges.  Make a disc with the second piece of dough and place it on top.  Seal the edges and shape the whole into a round, flat loaf.  Repeat with the other 2 pieces of dough and the other 1/2 of the filling.  Cover the loaves and set aside to rise for an hour or so.  Prick the top in several places to allow the steam to escape.  Bake in a hot oven (210c) for 30-40 mins. until golden brown.

Ras el Hanout


2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground cardamon

2 tsp ground mace

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground allspice

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp ground white pepper

1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp ground anise seeds

1/4 tsp ground cloves


Mix all ingredients together.  Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place until ready for use.

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