Mahjouba (Algerian Crêpes)2013-01-22
These thick, flaky crêpes stuffed with a jammy tomato-based filling are a typical street snack in Algeria.
- 6 small white onions, roughly chopped
- 3 red chiles, stemmed and seeded
- 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for greasing
- 3 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 (15-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, drained, crushed by hand
- 2 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- 4¼ cups fine semolina
1. Combine onions, chiles, and carrots in a food processor, and process until finely chopped. Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped vegetables, and cook, stirring, until soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add tomato paste, and cook until lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until mixture is thick and slightly dry, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro; let filling cool.
2. Meanwhile, combine 2 tbsp. salt, semolina, and 2 cups water in a bowl, and stir until dough forms. Transfer to a work surface, and knead until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky, about 8 minutes. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces, shape into balls, and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet; cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
3. Lightly oil a work surface (marble works best), and working one at a time, flatten dough ball into a disk using the heel of your hands until it is about ⅙” thick. Gently pull the edges to stretch the dough into a paper-thin rectangle, about 15″ long and 12″ wide. Place a scant ½ cup filling in the center of the dough, and spread it out to a 6″ x 4″ rectangle. Fold the long sides of the rectangle over the filling, and then fold over the short sides, pressing to seal and enclose the filling. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.